Examining The Process Of The Brad Hawpe Signing | The Process Report

Examining The Process Of The Brad Hawpe Signing

By Tommy Rancel //

While visions of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon danced in our heads, the reality of the Rays search for an upgrade at designated hitter position has always loomed in our minds. Ramirez or Damon would’ve offered significant upgrades, however, the financials and the fact that other teams were ahead of the Rays in the waiver order made the chances of a deal happening pretty low.

For a few weeks now, I have been monitoring the Brad Hawpe situation from afar. Just this week, our friend Erik Hahmann did a more in-depth look into the situation on draysbay.com. The potential for impact with Hawpe is much less than others, but when you think about the Rays way of doing things, the Hawpe signing just fits.

Sure, adding Ramirez would’ve been a tremendous upgrade, but it came at a significant cost. The team would have owed Ramirez $1.1 million in 2010 and then owed about $3 million in deferred payments. Again, had other teams not been involved, one would hope the team would’ve made the investment anyway given the potential impact to the offense.

In Hawpe, the Rays are taking almost no risk in terms of investment. Since he was outright released by the Rockies, the Rays owe him the pro-rated cost of the league minimum – which would be around $100k for the remainder of the season.

Throughout this whole process of looking at potential hitters, the goal was simple: upgrade the current production of the DH position. As of now, the Rays are tied for the best record in baseball. They already have a good team. The object was to make that team better – even if it was just by that famous extra 2%.

Although he is having a down season, Hawpe is likely to provide that. It may not be a tremendous upgrade, but given the production of the collective DH this season, anything is welcomed. Currently, he is hitting .255/.343/.432. The Rays’ DH as a unit has hit .238/.314/.370. If he continues to hit as he has been this season, that alone would be a boost to the position.

Looking at the rest of season projections by ZiPS, they are very bullish on Hawpe. ZiPS believes Hawpe will hit .283/.380/.511 over the final 100 at-bats of the regular season. Of course, this does not factor in a change in league, ball park, and moving to a DH role. Even if we penalize his projected .382 wOBA by 10%, a .340 wOBA over 150 at-bats is nearly half a win more than Dan Johnson’s projected .304 over the same time frame. For the cost, you can’t argue with that.

Many will see this move as the alternative to Manny Ramirez or Johnny Damon; however, that’s not the case. Hawpe shouldn’t be compared to those players because he is not replacing them. Instead, if we look at Hawpe as the alternative to Dan Johnson as the DH vs RHP over the final month of the season – as well as the potential playoffs in October – then we will have a better appreciation of the process behind the move.

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