Oct 13, 2009, 3:06 PM EDT
How can you have spent the last 12 years covering the NL and believe that Brad Hawpe is a legitimate center fielder capable of pushing Kosuke Fukudome to right field?
I actually think Bruce Miles is one of the Cubs’ best beat writers, but that’s an ugly error. It’s not like Hawpe is a newcomer. He’s spent five-plus years in the big leagues, he’s averaged a 900 OPS in the last four and he even went to an All-Star Game this year.
Hawpe, though, has never played a game in center field and for good reason. He’s a natural first baseman who moved to the outfield because of Todd Helton’s presence. After doing a respectable job his first few years in the league, he’s declined to the point at which his defense has nullified much of his value on offense.
There’s a good chance that Hawpe will be traded this winter. The Rockies have Carlos Gonzalez to plug into right field on a full-time basis and they should be fine in center with Dexter Fowler and in left with a combination of Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs and maybe Eric Young Jr.
It is teams with holes at first base and DH that should be looking at Hawpe, though. He’ll be of more use there than he is as a liability in a corner outfield spot.
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