LaTroy Hawkins was one of the New York Mets’ most dependable players in 2013. He was one of three players that remained on the active roster from opening day until the end of the season, never getting demoted, cut or put on the disabled list. He was the most reliable member of an inconsistent bullpen, but all that doesn’t mean the Mets should re-sign him for 2014.
Hawkins has said that he would like to pitch one more major league season, despite the fact that he will turn 41 in December. He said he would like to return to New York next season, but first he will explore other options. While it would be nice to bring Hawkins back, and while he’s certainly earned a spot in the Mets’ bullpen next season, the Mets shouldn’t bring him back next season.
Although he was a great influence on the younger members of the Mets’ pitching staff this year, Hawkins doesn’t fit the mold of what the Mets should be looking for in their bullpen. They are trying to develop a starting rotation of young power arms, and they should be doing the same in the bullpen, which would exclude the 40-year-old Hawkins.
Hawkins can be effective out of the bullpen, but he’s also limited at times pitching on back-to-back days and is not as effective when he does. There are limitations to what he can do at his age, which was fine in 2013, but if the Mets want to start competing in 2014, they can’t be reliant on pitchers that have limitations.
It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for the Mets to re-sign Hawkins, but it’s certainly not something they need to do. He would make a great mentor to their younger pitches, but he would also take a spot away from one of those younger pitchers, which is why the Mets should let Hawkins go elsewhere for the final season of his career.