One of the free agents that the New York Mets are actually targeting this offseason, relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, is already off the board after having signed with the Colorado Rockies. However, losing out on Hawkins should not be a big deal for the Mets nor should it be considered a setback for their offseason plans.
Hawkins was one of the bright spots for the Mets in 2013 and an integral part of their bullpen. While it would have been nice to retain him for next season, allowing him to act as a mentor for the younger members of the Mets’ bullpen, it wasn’t essential for the Mets to bring him back in 2014.
The Rockies signed him for $2.5 million, which is far more money than the Mets can afford to spend on an aging middle reliever — especially after they signed Hawkins to a cheap minor league contract before the 2013 season. The Rockies are also giving Hawkins an opportunity to be their closer, which should be a great thrill for him in what should be his final major league season. But despite Hawkins finishing the 2013 season as the Mets’ closer, that was not a position he would have filled for them next season with the return of Bobby Parnell and the addition of Vic Black.
Hawkins is a class act and one of the most professional players and people in baseball. Any organization should feel lucky to have him, but on the field Hawkins is not what the Mets need. The relievers the Mets should retain for next season should be young and hard-throwing pitchers, neither of which describes Hawkins which means he doesn’t fit into their future plans.
Under the right circumstances it would have been nice for the Mets to bring back Hawkins for one more year. But Hawkins signing with the Rockies instead isn’t a big deal and shouldn’t affect the Mets moving forward this offseason.