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.
On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”
Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.
Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.
Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.