The New York Mets suffered their first free agent defection this winter, and it was not one they were expecting. LaTroy Hawkins, who the Mets wanted to bring back after a strong 2013 season, signed a one year deal worth 2.5 million dollars with the Colorado Rockies, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports. Hawkins, who recorded 13 saves and pitched to a 2.93 ERA in 72 appearances last season, will now become Colorado's closer.
Hawkins, who also received a team option for 2015 in his contract, was reportedly blown away by Colorado's offer. While the Mets were interested in bringing Hawkins back as a veteran mentor for younger bullpen arms Bobby Parnell and Vic Black, it appears they were outbid by the Rockies for Hawkins' services. Hawkins sent out a tweet shortly after he signed the deal thanking the Mets organization and their fans for the opportunity to pitch in New York.
While some will criticize the Mets for being cheap with Hawkins, the team option and opportunity to close games would have likely won out for Hawkins if the deals were similar. Hawkins was a strong arm for the Mets in 2013, but there are plenty of veteran arms out there who can pitch in the late innings. The Mets will likely sign a veteran reliever with a similar pedigree to Hawkins for a bit cheaper than Hawkins would have been. Either way, the Mets will now need to add a veteran set up man to their shopping list this winter.
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