For some reason this Brad Hawpe signing and the media surrounding his return to first base reminds me of other off season acquisitions from Padres past. There's something about it, maybe the way all the news stories seem to try to convince you that this move will matter even though your gut isn't quite sure. There's always a player that is a little bit too over hyped.
Last winter the story was Chris Young's return to the rotation. In years past you had Cliff Floyd, Vinny Castilla, Jim Edmonds, Mark Bellhorn and other forgettable guys that are supposed to be the answer for at least one season. Then the season starts and they may play a bit but just kind of fizzle or even if they do play the whole season you always forget that they were on the opening day line up a few years later.
I'm not sure what my point here is, except that my expectations are extremely low for Brad Hawpe. Just as his seem to be for himself. "I'm not replacing Adrian Gonzalez," Hawpe said. "He's a heck of a first baseman. I'm just going to go out and do my thing." I know what he means, but still his thing needs to be to replace Adrian Gonzalez. Sure he doesn't have to hit 40 home runs or act quite as mopey, but still he's got to replace him. Would any of you be surprised if he's not playing first base full time at the end of the season? Not me.
Here's some links to Brad Hawpe stories. I particularly enjoyed his interview with Darren Smith because of his Texas twang and repeated use of the phrase "Well shoot!":
PADRES: Hawpe hopping to return to first base
"Ideally, you want a big bopper in the middle of the lineup, but in this ballpark it's hard to hit the ball," Hoyer said last month. "You're going to need to play with doubles hitters, guys that play defense and good pitching.
4H Club, Part 2 – Ducksnorts
My general feeling about the Padres’ first base situation is this: The club chose (smartly, in my opinion) to spend its money up the middle on Jason Bartlett and Hudson. This left relatively little for first base. My preference would have been to sign Russell Branyan, mainly because I am a huge Branyan fan, but it probably doesn’t make much difference.
Hawpe eager to play first and hit at Petco Park - SignOnSanDiego.com
"First is my natural position," said Hawpe. "I grew up my whole life playing first. In high school I pitched and played first. Speed wasn't one of my strengths. But when I got to the bigs, Todd Helton had just signed a 10-year contract to play first for the Rockies."
Padres sign free agent Brad Hawpe to one-year contract | padres.com: News
The Padres added the final piece to their revamped infield on Monday, signing 31-year-old free agent Brad Hawpe to a one-year contract.
insidethepadres: Brad Hawpe
"What are the Padres getting in 31-year-old Brad Hawpe? They're getting a hitter whose swing is high maintenance (a diva swing). They're getting a patient hitter who can hit home runs in any ballpark. Defensively, they're getting a veteran right-fielder who should be good at first base. They're also getting an NL West veteran whose intangibles bring him much praise from a long-time employer."
XX Sports Radio: Brad Hawpe Interview with Darren Smith (MP3)
Meet the Padres new 1B. Brad Hawpe on why the Padres were a good fit, why he's comfortable at 1st, playing w/Hudson & Bartlett & thoughts on Bud Black.