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December 09, 2007

LaTroy Hawkins

From Ken Rosenthal:

The Yankees, rebuilding their setup corps, are close to signing free-agent right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year contract believed to be worth approximately $3.75 million, according to major-league sources.

Hawkins, 35, will help fill the void created by the loss of righty Luis Vizcaino, who declined salary arbitration from the Yankees, and righty Joba Chamberlain, who is expected to move into the starting rotation.

The Colorado Rockies and Texas Rangers were among the teams that bid for Hawkins, who went 2-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 62 games for Colorado last season. He also made four appearances in the postseason, allowing one run in five innings.

A 13-year veteran, Hawkins spent his first nine seasons with the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees will be his sixth team and fifth in the past four seasons.

Did you know that, in 1995, Hawkins was once one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball?

There's a part of me that wants to say Hawkins is just a softer throwing version of Kyle Farnsworth. But, still, for one year at $3.75 million, this is a move that you can quickly eat if it turns out to be a disaster. Think "Juan Acevedo, circa 2003."

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 9, 2007 02:29 PM

Comments

yeah, but farnsworth has walked 4 guys per nine innings over the last two years and hawkins only 2.3 guys per nine innings. sure, hawkins isn't great, but at least he gives his team a chance to make plays behind him.

Posted by: adam [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 03:10 PM

"this is a move that you can quickly eat if it turns out to be a disaster"

"sure, hawkins isn't great, but..."

Sounds like a great way to build a baseball team!

What's wrong with the guys the Yankees already have? Ross Ohlendorf can certainly out-preform Hawkins, and Mahay, and most other half-wits the Yankees have been connected to. At a fraction of the price!

Posted by: mehmattski [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 03:50 PM

I would prefer to go with kids, which is one reason why I don't want to include Hughes in a trade for Santana. I think that as Melancon and Sanchez move further along in their rehabs, they will be big contributors by the second half of the season, maybe Horne and Marquez will be too, perhaps even earlier.

As for the comparisons to Farnsworth, one of the problems with him is that he isn't effective pitching on consecutive days, which was the reason that even Torre wouldn't overuse him.

2007

1 day of rest:

Farnsworth: 5.47
Hawkins: 3.72

Looking at some other of Hawkins's splits:

Home: 2.48
Away: 4.44

That's probably explained by the fact that Hawkins was an extreme GB pitcher (G/F: 3.06) in 2007 (Career: 1.22). Did he add a pitch? Their team ERA: was Home: 4.34 and Away: 4.29.

On positive note:

Pre-AS: 4.07
Post-AS: 2.90

Posted by: Rich [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 04:23 PM

awful awful move

give me 4 million dollars and I'll get more people out than Hawkins

Posted by: Straylightrise [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 04:32 PM

It's not awful because it's for only one year, so they can DFA if they need to.

Posted by: Rich [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 05:50 PM

it's not awful cause it's a one year deal

what would be awful is if you give viz a 3 or 4 year deal

Posted by: Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 06:16 PM

Exactly.

Posted by: Rich [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 06:42 PM

"give me 4 million dollars and I'll get more people out than Hawkins"

I don't know anything about you, but I somehow find that to be untrue....

This probably isn't the best move in the world, but it's probably worth a flier (the price of fliers seems to go up every year though) and we now have a manager who isn't going to pitch him because of tenure and nothing else.

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 07:57 PM

Looks like a done deal now.

http://www.msgnetwork.com/content_news.jsp?articleID=20071210021639830000101-a&docType=news&sports=baseball&league=mlb&team=yankees&newsgroup=null

FWIW, I heard someone the other day on X-M Radio..maybe it was Buck Martinez (or someone else, maybe Rob Dibble?)..or perhaps a GM that they were interviewing...I dunno...it was someone, for sure...and they were talking about kid pitchers. The logic they were "pitching" was that it was better to not have a kid on the Opening Day roster...because of the extra pressure of wanting to make a great impression at the start of the season when all eyes are on you. They said it was better to let the kid throw in Triple-A for a few weeks or months- and then bring them up, during the year, when it's easier to get into the season as it's already formed...and then it's just the pressure of being a big leaguer and not the pressure of being a big league, for the first time, at the start of a season (when there's pressure for all).

Maybe that's the logic here with Hawkins? Bring him in, even if he stinks, for a few months and then replace him with one of the kids in June - when it's easier for them to break in?

Well, it's possible, I guess.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 10:19 PM

Wow, I'm shocked by the reaction of you guys. It seems fairly positive. I HATE this move. I've always disliked Hawkins. He's one of those guys that hits 96 on the radar gun, but can't strike anyone out. People think Farnsworth's fastball is straight? Get ready to meet Hawkins.

Farnsworth had a down year strikeout-wise in '07, but frankly I think he is, and has proven to be these last few years, on a different level than Hawkins. I'll take the slightly more walks along with three times as many strikeouts.

As it's already been said, I'd rather just go with the young guys. Yeah, you can cut him once he starts to suck, but the fact that we're saying "you can cut him once he starts to suck" means you probably shouldn't sign him to begin with.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2007 11:30 PM

Eh. I agree with Jeremy insofar as it would be nice if Cash could get a bit more creative with filling in some of the bullpen gaps, but hey - they're not giving away anything to get L.H. (besides a little cash).

All in all, it's a low-risk/low reward move. And who knows - Hawkins might just have a few more league average months of baseball left in that right arm of his. And it's not like there won't be any room left in the pen for kids like Briton and Ohlendorf.

Posted by: brockdc [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 10, 2007 12:42 AM

I remember getting excited everytime Hawkins came into the game the year the Yankees beat the Twins in the playoffs because we knew we would score off of him and we did. I don't really see him as someone who has been good under pressure. He completely bombed in his chance to be a closer with the Cubs, so I'm not sure how he would handle New York, but he does have good "stats" hopefully that will translate into him pitching good enough to hold leads.

Posted by: antone [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 10, 2007 08:14 AM

~~~I remember getting excited everytime Hawkins came into the game the year the Yankees beat the Twins in the playoffs because we knew we would score off of him and we did. ~~~

FWIW, I too always felt this way as well.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 10, 2007 10:03 AM

Well, it's possible, I guess.
==========
It's possible, but it doesn't make any sense. May as well get the player in the game regardless of what the calendar says. Using that logic, you wouldn't call up a rookie late in the season either if your team is in a pennant race.

I think the Hawkins signing is a bad one, but it's done... I guess the upside is that the contract can be eaten if he's done, but if you're going to have that mindset, why sign him in the first place?

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 10, 2007 12:28 PM