From Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press comes word that the Padres have reached a one-year contract with free agent Brad Hawpe. The two sides were said to be “on the verge” of an agreement late Thursday night and made it happen today on Christmas Eve.
Once he passes his pre-signing physical, everything will be official.
Hawpe is going to play first base in San Diego, a position he has manned only nine times in his career. It’s obviously a downgrade both defensively and offensively from Adrian Gonzalez, but the Padres don’t have a massive payroll and must spend creatively.
Hawpe, 31, should be worth what is likely to be a low-base salary contract.
He batted just .245/.338/.419 over 346 plate appearances in 2010 for the Rockies and Rays, but he still carries an impressive 862 career OPS and he boasts a strong .281/.371/.451 lifetime batting line inside the cavernous walls of PETCO Park.
The Padres chased more traditional first basemen Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee before deciding on Hawpe. Both were seeking fairly expensive salaries, though, and the youth-driven Friars were wise to shy away.
Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.
Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.
The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.
Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.
Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.
According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.