Monday, December 04, 2006

Despite Needs, Rockies Won't Trade Brad Hawpe

The Colorado Rockies have refused to deal left-handed right fielder Brad Hawpe to make room for prime outfield prospect Jeff Baker. The Rockies -- looking for a center fielder -- have been dissatisfied with Hawpe's performance against left-handed pitching, so much so that Hawpe may be forced into a platoon next season.

But Baker, meanwhile, appears to be a complete package. Though still largely untested, Baker has opened eyes by hitting .368 with five homers in 57 AB for the Rockies last year, following a .305 performance with 20 homers and 108 RBI for the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox.

Still, a number of teams have been rebuffed in making inquiries about Hawpe, notably the Pittsburgh Pirates with three center fielders on their roster, Nate McLouth, Chris Duffy and promising young prospect Nyjer Morgan, now playing in Hawaii.

As long as free agent journeymen outfielders Jay Payton and Darin Erstad remain on the market, the Rockies feel little pressure to make rash moves. The Rockies have up to $10 million to spend on free agents and will watch closely while the marketplace sets prices on players left behind after the first push.