Padres reach one-year agreement with Brad Hawpe

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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.