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LaTroy Hawkins didn’t fit the Mets’ budget, so what does that say about this offseason?

LaTroy Hawkins (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
LaTroy Hawkins (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

LaTroy Hawkins agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Colorado Rockies last night according to multiple reports.

According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, the deal is actually structured as a $2.25 million contract for 2014, plus a $2.25 million option for 2015 with a $250,000 buyout.

I’d say “good for LaTroy Hawkins” and leave it at that, except that the New York Mets kept telling everyone that they wanted to bring Hawkins back and the Daily NewsKristie Ackert reports “the Rockies’ offer ‘blew away,’ an offer the Mets made.”

Just how much did the Mets expect to pay him, anyway?

Hawkins did a very nice job out of the bullpen for the Mets in 2013, even serving as a reliable closer over the season’s final two months after Bobby Parnell was injured. But he will be 41 years old next season, and I wouldn’t say it’s a safe bet to expect him to duplicate his performance.

Still, $2.5 million is not a very big commitment in the fantasy world of Major League Baseball payrolls.

To a certain extent, all relief pitchers present a certain risk when predicting year-to-year performance. And Sandy Alderson is going to have to find someone else to fill Hawkins’ setup role and serve as the team’s closer at the beginning of the season if Parnell has not fully recovered from neck surgery to correct a herniated disc.

Unless he looks strictly at in-house options and minor league free agents, Alderson is going to have to find a couple of million – maybe more – to pay a relief pitcher. A Major League Baseball team in 2013 should not be in a position where a $2.5 million contract is a big deal, yet that’s where the Mets are.

Buy your Opening Day tickets and get excited about the 2014 spring training schedule, everyone.


6 thoughts on “LaTroy Hawkins didn’t fit the Mets’ budget, so what does that say about this offseason?

  1. When I saw that story, I thought the same thing. You can’t even re-sign Latroy Hawkins, for God’s sake? If my expectations for this off-season were any lower, I’d be digging a trench to stand in.


  2. Proof positive there is no satisfying some Mets fans. When Hawkins signed, it was all, “Ho hum, roster filler; when do the ‘real’ players get here?” Now its “How could they let him walk at just 2.5 mil?” It’s not the 2.5 mil. It’s the 2.5 mil for a 41 year old who, as you admit, is unlikely to repeat his success. Why would you throw 2.5 mil at a likely losing proposition? Save that 2.5 mil to sweeten the pot for a “real” player or, heck, that $2.5 mil will probably get you THREE players just like LaTroy. If Sandy Alderson were the GM of any other team, fans would be praising him as the Wizard of Wall Street for getting ANYTHING out of LaTroy and turning Marlon Byrd into two really good prospects. But some Mets fans? Their day isn’t complete unless they’re raggin’ on Sandy. He could trade Ruben Tejada and Jenrry Mejia for Strasburg and Bryce Harper and they’d still find fault. I don’t know about you but, when I shop for a new TV or whatever, I don’t deliberately overpay. LaTroy Hawkins is not worth a $2.5 million investment at this stage of his career and you know it. What does letting LaTroy sign with the Rockies for $2.5 mil tell me about this offseason for the Mets? It tells me Sandy’s mama didn’t raise a fool.


    1. Stubby,

      I haven’t looked (and I don’t really care all that much), but I wonder what the Rockies’ fans are saying about signing a 41 year-old pitcher for 2 1/2 mil after he was paid 1 mil last year.


      1. I spent a few minutes looking at Twitter, and I’m pretty much seeing a non-reaction by Colorado fans. The idea that the Rockies are counting on him as a closer does bother some (which seems sensible, considering his age.)


    2. Stubby,

      I don’t think it’s a bad move to let LaTroy Hawkins go and try to find a younger pitcher to fill his role. I do find it disturbing that the Mets decided that they would want to bring him back, but were unwilling or unable to pay what the market demanded to get the deal done.

      Sandy Alderson probably can pluck replacement candidates for Hawkins out of the minor league free agent pool for less money, so I’m not concerned there. But until he shows that he can pull the trigger on a free agent that’s more impressive than Frank Francisco, he’s going to have to deal with the perception that the Mets are broke.

      And when the Mets finally find that free agent that they really want, they are probably going to have to overpay him – it’s been quite a few years since the Mets have looked like an ideal destination for players who have choices.


  3. Stubby’s got it right, in my mind. I think it’s simple: The Mets said (probably even told Hawkins) they wanted him back, for (let’s say) one year and $1.5 million (they paid him $1 million this season). Heck, maybe they offered $2 million or even $2.5 — for one year with no option. But when you’re 41, even the option for a second year could be considered “blowing away” a one-year deal. And no one’s going to Citi Field to see Hawkins pitch — they’re not going specifically to see anyone who’s pitching the eighth inning. As long as that guy holds a lead when there is one, that’s all that matters.


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