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.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.