To the disappointment of many, the Milwaukee Brewers allowed reliever LaTroy Hawkins to walk last winter as the right-hander signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. After Milwaukee posted the worst bullpen earned run average in all of baseball this past season, is it time for the Brewers to get Hawkins back?
Milwaukee signed Hawkins to a two-year, $7.5 million contract in December of 2009. Hawkins did not pitch well in 2010 mostly due to an arm injury, but his 0-3 record and 8.44 ERA did not sit well with Brewers fans. However, he redeemed himself in 2011 as he went 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA and 20 holds in 52 appearances and was a huge reason why the bullpen was dominant down the stretch.
The 39-year-old who turns 40 on December 21 will be looking to sign with his 10th MLB team as the Angels have made it clear they do not plan on re-signing the 17-year veteran. Hawkins may have not pitched as well as he did in 2011, but his numbers last season were still respectable. He went 2-3 with a 3.64 ERA, one save and six holds in 42 innings.
Los Angeles simply has too many expenses heading into the 2013 season, especially if they plan on re-signing starter Zack Greinke. If they had the money, I am certain the Angels would re-sign Hawkins to another one-year deal. However, since they do not have the financial capability to do so, another team will have the ability to sign a reliable pitcher.
The Brewers could very well be that team as they currently have only two relievers signed for next season. Those two players are closer John Axford and possible setup man Jim Henderson. Milwaukee has several holes to fill in the bullpen and is certainly open to the idea of signing a couple free agents to mend the gap.
Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash has stated the team has already contacted a few potential pitchers, but no official offers have been made yet.
“I can’t give you any odds on that right now,” Ash said. “We’ve talked to some. We haven’t advanced past the initial inquiry stage. It’s a small group.”
Whether Hawkins is one of the players in the small group Ash mentioned is unknown. However, if he is not the Brewers should definitely reconsider. Hawkins pitched very well for Milwaukee when he was healthy and he truly enjoyed his time with the Brewers. Milwaukee will be looking to use some of their talented prospects to play a role in the bullpen but it certainly would not hurt to add a proven veteran such as Hawkins to the mix.
Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.