When Troy Tulowitzki struckout on that nasty slider from Brad Lidge, the Colorado Rockies’ offseason officially began. Just like with every team, the Rockies face some difficult offseason decisions.
One of those difficult decisions for the Rockies is whether or not to trade RF Brad Hawpe.
The Rockies also have a surplus of young, talented outfielders. Seth Smith, Dexter Fowler, and Carlos Gonzalez seem to have the three outfield spots locked down for 2010.
And with Hawpe due *$7.5 million in 2010 and having a club option for $10 million in 2011 (if Hawpe is traded, he can void the 2011 club option), Hawpe seems to be the odd man out in Colorado.
I think the Rockies will make every effort to trade the 2009 All-Star. But what type of player are they trading and who would be interested in Hawpe?
Let’s a look at Hawpe and what he brings to the table…
Hawpe is a remarkably consistent offensive player. For the last four years, Hawpe has averaged .288/.384/.518 with 25 HR’s in 146 games. And if you look at his numbers on a year to year basis–he does that every year.
It’s kind of freaky to be honest.
Hawpe also crushes right-handed pitching. In 357 AB’s against right-handed pitching in 2009, Hawpe hit .303/.403/.552 with 17 HR’s.
And for those of you who think Hawpe is just a product of Coors Field–he is not. He hit more HR’s on the road in 2009 than he did at home (14 to nine). For his career, Hawpe has hit 54 HR’s at home and 57 on the road.
Also, his OPS for his career at home is .887 and on the road is .864. Not much difference.
While Hawpe might a remarkably consistent offensive player, his defense is flat-out offensive. He might be one of the worst defensive RF’s in baseball.
His UZR/150 in 2009 was -19.5, which puts him amongst the bottom of major league RF’s. What ever he brings to the table offensively, he takes away from it with his defense.
Hawpe can’t hit left-handed pitching. Hawpe’s career OPS vs. left-handed pitching is 158 points lower than it is against right-handed pitching. If Hawpe plays against a lefty and with his defense, you might as well just bring back Terry Shumpert to play the OF.
Here is another thing that bothers me about Hawpe and is a negative. Every time the Rockies are in prime time, Hawpe just disappears. He only has two extra-base hits in 42 career postseason AB’s.
How telling was it that Hawpe only got four AB’s against the Phillies in four games? He was one of the Rockies best offensive players throughout the year and he didn’t even sniff the batter’s box in the postseason.
Jim Tracy didn’t even go to Hawpe against righties. He used Jason Giambi as his primary left-handed pinch hitter off the bench.
Now that we looked at Hawpe as a player, what teams would be interested in trading for Hawpe? Here are some teams that makes potentially make sense for Hawpe…
Boston Red Sox – If they don’t re-sign Jason Bay and Matt Holliday re-signs with the St. Louis Cardinals, who is going to play LF for the Red Sox? If the Red Sox could live with Bay’s defense in LF, they could certainly live with Hawpe in left.
New York Mets – The Mets are desperate for any type of power infusion and need a left fielder. However, having an OF of Hawpe, Carlos Beltran (bad knees), and Jeff Francoeur (-3.2 UZR/150) means a lot of balls will be dropping in at cavernous Citi Field.
Chicago Cubs – The Cubs will do their best to trade Milton Bradley this offseason, leaving a hole in right field. Hawpe could give the Cubs the left-handed power hitter they have wanted since last year.
Atlanta Braves – If the Braves had their perfect world, their OF in June of 2010 would look like Nate McLouth in left, Jordan Schafer in center, and Jason Heyward in right.
If the Braves feel Schafer is still not ready for prime time yet, the Braves could look to Hawpe to take over for Garrett Anderson in left.
Kansas City Royals - The Royals need some offense and the Rockies would like some young relief pitching. Dayton Moore trades young relievers for DH-types all the time.
One of the issues the Rockies would run into if they decide to trade Hawpe is that there are a lot of DH-type players (Carlos Delgado, Russell Branyan, Hank Blalock, etc…) available on the open market this winter. Why would an American League GM trade prospects and add salary, when they can just add salary via free agency?
Hawpe figures to be one of the most talked about names on the trade market this winter. We will just have to wait and find out if the Rockies trade their right-handed crushing, poor fielding right fielder.
*All contract information was supplied by Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
Tags: Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Brad Hawpe, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Gonzalez, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Dexter Fowler, Hank Blalock, Jason Bay, Jeff Francoeur, Jordan Scafer, Kansas City Royals, Milton Bradley, Nate McLouth, New York Mets, Russell Branyan, Seth Smith