Pirates sign Brad Hawpe, invite Cole & Taillon to camp

Denis Poroy

The Pirates have signed Brad Hawpe to a minor league deal and invited top prospects Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon to major league camp.

All according to the team's twitter feed.

Since Hawpe reached the end of his time in Colorado, Pirate fans have sometimes speculated about whether the team should pick him up. Now it has. Of course, he hasn't hit much at all since he left Coors and even his good years were almost entirely Coors illusions.

Taillon will probably be with the team only briefly, maybe for a couple innings in spring training games, but those innings will be highly scrutinized. Cole could stick around longer, but I tend to doubt it because he's not going to open in the majors and so the innings will likely go to other guys. That'll be especially true with the Pirates getting their first look at guys like Vin Mazzaro, Zach Stewart, Andy Oliver and Jeanmar Gomez. But it'll be exciting just the same to see both prospects with the big club.

UPDATE by Charlie: Hawpe worked with Clint Hurdle in Colorado and will occupy the Garrett Atkins spot in camp. When Atkins was in camp in 2011 as a washed-up former Rockie, I worried that he might actually make the team, especially after I watched Hurdle go way out of his way to work with Atkins at Pirate City. That didn't happen, fortunately, and there's virtually no chance Hawpe will make the team, since the Pirates' outfield picture is very crowded and Hawpe didn't play in the majors in 2012.

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