The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is pending Hawpe passing a physical exam.
Hawpe will replace three-time All-Star Adrian Gonzalez, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox earlier this month. Hawpe has mostly been an outfielder in seven big league seasons, with a handful of starts at first base. He was released by Colorado in August and signed by Tampa Bay.
The Padres had to go outside the organization to replace Gonzalez because Anthony Rizzo, one of the prospects obtained from Boston, isn't expected to be ready for perhaps a season.
Kyle Blanks, once considered the heir apparent to Gonzalez, had reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in late July and is expected to be sidelined until perhaps midseason. Before he got hurt, Blanks had been moved to left field to give him playing time.
Hawpe hit a combined .245 with nine homers and 44 RBIs last year. He was an All-Star in 2009 with Colorado, hitting .285 with 23 homers and 86 RBIs.
Signing Hawpe is expected to be the last major offseason move by the Padres, who surprisingly won 90 games last season before missing the playoffs with a final-day loss at eventual World Series champion San Francisco.