Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

LaTroy Hawkins signs with the Colorado Rockies


The Colorado Rockies had identified the back of their bullpen as an area of need this off-season. It appears that they addressed that need tonight by bringing back an old friend. 40-year-old LaTroy Hawkins is back with the Rockies. Bob Nightengale of USA Today had the report:

MLB.com’s Thomas Harding provides a breakdown of the contract.

I have to be honest. At the end of Hawkins’ previous tenure with the Rockies six years ago, I thought he was pretty much washed up. Rational or not, I did not have many nice things to see about LaTroy. All he’s done since is continue to put together good seasons out of the back of the bullpen for a variety of teams. Most recently it was the Mets in 2013: in an astounding 72 games, Hawkins put up a 2.9 ERA. He saved 13 games and struck out 55 hitters, the most for him in a season since he was a member of the Chicago Cubs in 2004.

Perhaps most important to the Rockies is the fact that Hawkins still throws hard. At age 39 he still kept his average fastball velocity at 92.6 MPH last season (according to FanGraphs). He still throws smoke and he struck out a bunch of hitters. If you don’t buy that, then you should at least recall, once again, how much this front office loves good veterans in the locker room. Hopefully LaTroy can bring a steady presence to a bullpen unit that slowly fell apart over the course of the 2013 season.

On balance I like the move. Rex Brothers had the 2013 season to grow into the closer’s role, and now you have a veteran in Hawkins to set up for him.

What the what?

It is November 18th, and I suppose it’s not worth getting worked up about. Still, though…seriously? All of that to get Brothers acclamated as closer just to move him back to set up? I don’t get it…

…unless…

…unless this is a sign that the Rockies are refusing to be obsessed with having defined roles in the bullpen and that they plan to simply make sure that Brothers faces the other team’s toughest hitters late, whether it’s in the 9th inning or not.

OK OK, you’re right. Don’t get your hopes up for that.

So what you’re saying is that LaTroy Hawkins very well might be the closer for the Colorado Rockies in the year 2014?

Well alright then.

Tags: Colorado Rockies LaTroy Hawkins