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.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.