UPDATE: According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers are interested in Hawpe. They are considering him as insurance at first base in case Mitch Moreland is slow coming back from wrist surgery.
9:31 PM: Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu news on the very same night? This Hot Stove is a-burnin’.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com is reporting that Hawpe could be close to signing a minor league contract with a spring training invite. With whom? No idea. But three teams are currently in the mix.
Hawpe signed with the Padres last winter and batted just .231/.301/.344 with four homers, 19 RBI and a .645 OPS over 216 plate appearances before being placed on the disabled list in June with a strained left middle finger. However, his left elbow was the bigger issue, eventually requiring Tommy John surgery in August. The Padres declined his $6 million option for 2012 in October, making him a free agent.
Despite the surgery, Hawpe is said to be healthy and ready to compete for a big league job during spring training. The 32-year-old is coming off two terrible seasons, but handles right-handed pitching pretty well and his home-road splits aren’t as crazy as you’d think for someone who played a large chunk of games in Colorado. He’s worth the gamble, but given his poor reputation as a defender, he’s probably better off in the American League where he could DH.
Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.
On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.
Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.
As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”
The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.