Hawpe, Rox agree on three-year deal
Contract covers arbitration years, first year of free agency in '11
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Text messaging turned out to be a key part of Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe's preparation for 2008. As he heard the offseason news of Rockies signing contract after multiyear contract, Hawpe pulled out his phone and asked questions.
"[Pitcher Aaron] Cook is one of my better friends, and he signed early on," Hawpe said. "I texted him the whole time he was going through that process. 'Tulo' [shortstop Troy Tulowitzki] was a guy I talked to the whole time he was negotiating. It was a cool deal for everybody.
"I knew the Rockies made some approaches to me, and it was something I wanted to get done."
As a result, Hawpe and the Rockies reached a three-year, $17.25 million contract, which was completed on Tuesday.
Hawpe, 28, reached a one-year, $3.925 million deal before the arbitration deadline. The Rockies added to that with a $5.5 million salary in 2009, a $7.5 million salary in 2010 and a guaranteed $500,000 buyout on a $10 million club option for 2011. The deal covers all of Hawpe's arbitration years, and the club option covers his first year of free agency.
Hawpe joins Cook (an extension to bring his pay to $34 million over four years), Tulowitzki (six years, $31 million), left fielder Matt Holliday (two years, $23 million) and closer Manny Corpas (four years, $8 million) among homegrown players signing for more than one season since the end of the 2007 season. The Rockies also signed potential free-agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba for $7.5 million over two years.
In addition, left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis signed a four-year, $13.25 million contract before last season, and Todd Helton has expressed a desire to play beyond his eight-year, $141.5 million contract, which runs through 2011.
"I think this is what guys work for," Hawpe said. "Everybody has worked hard to continue to play the game, to continue to be a part of this organization and to help build it. That's what we've done -- help this organization. And I'm proud to wake up every day and say I'm a Colorado Rockie."
Hawpe batted .291 with 29 home runs and 116 RBIs last season while helping the Rockies to their first World Series appearance. The combination of average, run production and OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) made Hawpe the most effective offensive player in the National League last season.
"It's another player that expressed a strong desire to work with us to do something," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said. "Usually, when they reach out like that and they're that motivated to do it, there's a fair deal out there for them.
"There's no guarantee it's a panacea when you sign guys to multiyear contracts. They still have to go out and perform, individually and collectively, for it to be the type of season we hope it will be."
In 2007, Hawpe hit .438 in his final 12 regular season games, with multiple hits in eight of those, while becoming a clutch hitter during the dramatic playoff push. One of the hits was a two-run homer off the Dodgers' Jonathan Broxton for a 5-4 Rockies victory on Sept. 19. Another hit was a 14th-inning solo shot off the Padres' Joe Thatcher for a 2-1 victory at PETCO Park.
Defensively, Hawpe and the Braves' Jeff Francoeur led Major League outfielders with 26 assists apiece.
"He's a great asset with his bat -- 29 homers last year, and the RBIs -- and just what he brings to the field defensively with his arm," Cook said. "When I'm out there on the mound and a guy's on second base, I don't care if they hit the ball to right field.
"Sometimes when you have Matt Holliday and Todd Helton, a guy like him is going to get overlooked. I think he's going to get noticed a little bit more."
In the postseason, Hawpe batted .282 with a home run, four RBIs, a triple and four runs scored while starting each game. He hit safely in eight of the 11 games and led the club with eight postseason walks.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.