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.
The Rangers outrighted reliever Shawn Tolleson off the 40-man roster on Wednesday. Rather than accept the assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, Tolleson has opted to become a free agent, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake reports.
Tolleson, 28, emerged as a closer for the Rangers in 2015, but his follow-up campaign this year was dreadful. He finished with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He eventually went on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.
Despite the nightmarish season, it’s easy to see a team deciding to take a flier on Tolleson for the 2017 season.
Indians slugger Carlos Santana hasn’t played in the outfield in a major league game since 2012, but the Indians are strongly considering starting him in left field for Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. As the game is hosted in a National League park, there is no DH rule in effect, so the Indians might otherwise have to keep Santana on the bench.
Santana is hitless in six at-bats in the World Series thus far, but he has drawn two walks. He has overall not had a great postseason, carrying an aggregate .564 OPS in 40 plate appearances since the beginning of the playoffs. Still, during the regular season, he had an .865 OPS so he can certainly be a threat on offense at any given moment.