Per Ken Rosenthal, the Rays have signed Brad Hawpe. He was placed on waivers by the Rockies and cleared, meaning any team can pick him up. He's cheap, has great upside, and potentially adds another above-average bat for the Rays. Considering our DH production is still on the weak side, it's worth taking a cheap flyer on a bat with this sort of upside.
Also, I have to give props to Erik - he called it:
If the team is willing to spend over $1 million on Chad Qualls then it's likely they would take a flier on Brad Hawpe for one hundred grand. His 2006-2009 seasons for the Rockies were pretty good. As I noted in the first paragraph, Hawpe averaged 24 home runs and 77 walks over those seasons. While Coors Field certainly enhances a player's overall numbers, Hawpe's home/road splits aren't so drastic. He has a .286/.378/.513 career line at Coors and a .274/.369/.471 line everywhere else. Plus his road wOBA over the '06-'09 seasons are impressive: .401, .359, .373, .377. The .840 road OPS isn't amazing for someone who adds no value defensively, but it's not bad, plus the Rays wouldn't allow him to come within 50 feet of a glove anyway.
I'd imagine this takes the Rays out of the bidding for Manny Ramirez, if they were ever seriously considering him to begin with. It may be that the Rays were courting Manny and when that fell through, decided to go with their back-up plan of Brad Hawpe.
Recent reports have said that Manny was looking for a contract extension before approving any trade, which would be a big turn-off for the Rays. (Apparently he's now not looking for an extension )
This is a smart low-cost, good upside signing for the Rays. I'm curious to see who gets the heave-ho to give Hawpe a roster spot, since he'll need to be on the Rays' roster before September 1st if they want him on their postseason roster. The Rays won't want to lose anyone if they can help it, so it's likely that Andy Sonnanstine gets shipped down to Durham for 10 days before being brought up again.
Update: From Topkin, "Hawpe signing minor-league deal, but expected to join Rays by Tuesday so would be postseason eligible"