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.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have fired pitching coach Mike Harkey following a season in which the staff ranked ninth among NL teams in runs allowed.
That actually represents a big improvement from last season, when the Diamondbacks allowed the second-most runs in the league in Harkey’s first year as pitching coach, but the Tony La Russa-led front office has decided to make a change.
Prior to joining the Diamondbacks two offseasons ago Harkey served as the Yankees’ bullpen coach from 2008-2013. He pitched eight seasons in the majors.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Nationals are expected to consider Cal Ripken Jr. for their managerial vacancy. Ripken, of course, was recently reported to have been considered by the club the last time the job was open.
This could be a courtesy. And if you’re a Nats fan, you have to hope it is, right? Because the single biggest argument in favor of Matt Williams when he was hired was that he was a top player in his day, wasn’t too far removed from his playing career and could be a good clubhouse guy who understood what made major leaguers tick. His lack of experience was brushed off. All of which would be the same thing for Ripken, except he doesn’t even have the coaching experience Williams had and is even farther removed from his playing days.
I know he’s famous and everything, but if the Nationals’ 2015 season is evidence of anything, perhaps it should be evidence that sometimes it’s useful to have a manager who has actually, you know, made a pitching change once in his professional life.