It seems like forever ago now, but Brad Hawpe was an All-Star as recently as 2009.
He had a rough 2010 season for the Rockies and Rays, was even worse in part-time action with the Padres last season, and last night the Rangers released him after signing Hawpe to a minor-league contract in January.
Certainly no longer calling Coors Field home hurt Hawpe’s production, but he was typically pretty solid on the road during his prime and injuries have been a much bigger factor in his rapid decline. He underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in August and is still unable to throw from the outfield, limiting him to first base.
General manager Jon Daniels indicated that Hawpe returning to the Rangers as a Triple-A player is possible if he’s unable to land a big-league contract and/or better opportunity elsewhere.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.