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Kicking the Tires: Brad Hawpe

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The Rockies' Brad Hawpe was a popular trade target among some Tigers fans early in the season. But that deal wasn't going to happen as long as Colorado was playing so well, a run which ultimately took them to the playoffs. But now that the season is over, might Hawpe be available again?

The Ghost of Moonlight Graham looks at the possibility, mentioning five teams that might be interested in Hawpe this winter. The Detroit Tigers were not among them.

This season, the left-handed Hawpe batted .285/.384/.519 with 23 home runs and 86 RBIs. Those numbers are pretty much what he's produced in each of the last four years. And against right-handed pitching, Hawpe hit .303/.403/.552 with 17 homers and 66 RBIs in 419 plate appearances, the sort of production the Tigers could only dream of getting from Aubrey Huff.

But Hawpe doesn't come without some problems. One, of course, is his price tag. What might the Rockies want in return for a player who will presumably be in demand this offseason? But Hawpe's contract is also a problem. He's due to be paid $7.5 million next season. (The deal also includes an $11 million club option for 2011, but Hawpe could void that if he's traded.)

Another issue is his defense. As much as Hawpe might contribute with the bat, he might give it right back with his glove. Hawpe's UZR/150 in right field this season was -19.5. Click over to Fangraphs to see where that ranked, and you'll have to scroll all the way to the bottom. He's also only played right field in his major league career, and Detroit would presumably need him in left field.

One more problem, as TGOMG points out, is that Hawpe is essentially a platoon player now.

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.

To be exact, Hawpe batted .243/.337/.438 against lefties this season in 169 plate appearances. (Shumpert, by the way, batted .235/.304/.372 in his final season with the Rockies in 2002, just to make that reference clearer.) But in the Tigers' case, maybe that would just present an opportunity to play Ryan Raburn.

So here's where we put it to you. Is Hawpe a player the Tigers should pursue this winter? Is he too expensive? Is he not quite the right fit, especially from a defensive standpoint? Can they get similar production out of a Carlos Guillen-Raburn platoon in left field?

(via Purple Row)