Colorado Rockies Rumors: LaTroy Hawkins Expected Back As Closer
By Hayden Kane
LaTroy Hawkins is expected back as the closer for the Colorado Rockies for the start of the 2015 season as the Hot Stove starts up this off-season.
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The Colorado Rockies made a nice low-risk, moderate-reward move when they signed LaTroy Hawkins to be their bridge at closer before the start of the 2014 season.
It looks like they will go that route again in 2015, exercising an equally reasonable and identical $2.25 million club option for the 2015 season. I never thought I would say this, but that is clearly the right move.
Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes the following about Hawkins and his likely return to the Rockies next season:
"The Rockies are expected to re-sign Hawkins to hold down the closer role until someone else emerges."
What ended up happening in 2014, of course, was that the presumed closer of the future, Rex Brothers, flopped miserably. That left Hawkins as the closer from wire to wire. To my pleasant surprise, he did quite well. Hawkins recorded 23 saves in 57 appearances, posting a 3.31 ERA and a terrifying 5.3 K/9 mark. Still, for the tiny amount of money that the Rockies paid Hawkins, he was an excellent guy to have in the bullpen.
I am supportive of the team bringing Hawkins back, with one important caveat. If Hawkins, in his age 42 season, gets out to another good start this season, the Rockies need to sell high.
There are so many red flags when it comes to Hawkins’ success. That low 5.3 K/9 mark is chief among them. You need your ninth inning guy to miss bats, and Hawkins simply does not do that. Furthermore, the fact that the Rockies stunk limited Hawkins’ save opportunities. Of the top 30 closers in terms of saves last season, only five appeared in fewer than 60 games. Hawkins was one of them.
I still fear that Hawkins would get exposed with more appearances. If the Rockies can trade him before that regression happens in 2015, it will be a win and only make this team-friendly contract look better.
Exercising this option is the right decision, but if Hawkins is on the roster at the end of the 2015 season, then the Rockies aren’t doing it right.