It didn’t take long for RF Brad Hawpe to find some work. Hawpe, who cleared waivers on Thursday after being designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies last week, signed with the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.
I will call this signing Hank Blalock Part 2.
The Rays signed Blalock off the scrap heap in the offseason in the hopes of him becoming a left-handed power hitter off the bench or becoming the a left-handed bat in the lineup at DH against righties. Neither of those scenarios happened, as Blalock hit .254 with one HR and was released in June.
Now the Rays are hoping Hawpe has something left in the tank and could provide offense from the left side of the plate. The 31-year-old was an All-Star as late as last year and from 2006-2009 averaged 25 HR’s a season with .902 OPS; but Hawpe really struggled in 2010 hitting just .255 with seven HR’s in 88 games. Hawpe, as usual, struggled away from Coors Field. He was hitting just .211 on the road this year.
With Hawpe having a down season and with the Rockies having an overabundance of OF’s, Colorado had no more use for Hawpe. He had his suitors like the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers, but ultimately chose the Rays.
Signing with the Rays over the Rangers must have been a tough choice. The Rangers offer a chance at the World Series, but also more of a chance for Hawpe to regain some value. Hitting in Arlington is a lot more favorable than hitting in Tampa.
However, Tampa offers Hawpe a chance for more AB’s. Dan Johnson is currently batting .140 out of the DH spot and Matt Joyce isn’t lighting the world on fire either with his .230 average.
If Hawpe does well in the minors, he could push Johnson for some ABs. He will begin his Rays’ career in Single-A Charlotte.
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