Colorado Rockies baserunner Brad Hawpe is congratulated by Rockies Troy Tulowitzki and Clint Barmes after batter Ian Stewart hit a single to score two against the San Diego Padres in their MLB baseball game in Denver

Padres “on verge” of deal with free agent Brad Hawpe

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UPDATE: Dan Hayes of the North County Times was told by a Padres official that the talks are serious, but that “nothing is going to happen either way for a few days.”

8:03 PM: Aaron wrote earlier that the Padres were “interested” in signing free agent Brad Hawpe to play first base.

Now Buster Olney of ESPN.com is reporting that the two sides are “on the verge” of an agreement.

The Friars chased free agent first basemen Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche earlier this winter, but Hawpe will come far cheaper and could be just as productive if things go right in 2011.

He batted just .245 with a .338 on-base percentage and .419 slugging percentage in 2010 for the Rockies and Rays, but Hawpe still boasts a stellar 862 career OPS and he doesn’t turn 32 years old until June 22 of next year.

PETCO Park is one of the least power-friendly ballparks in all of baseball and doesn’t lend itself to many offensive turnarounds.  Hawpe, though, hit well there during his five-plus seasons in the National League West and may be able to right the ship.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.