Rockies make first offseason move, sign LaTroy Hawkins
The Colorado Rockies suffered through another season of sub .500 baseball, but some players found success on the field despite not finding it in the standings. Right fielder Michael Cuddyer won the NL Batting title and his first Silver Slugger. Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez and third baseman Nolan Arenado both picked up Gold Gloves, CarGo’s second and Arenado’s first. So, while the Rockies’ 2013 season was another blown shot at competing in the NL West, they had three players who collected awards in the end.
So where does that leave the Rockies for next season? Do they try to restock their noticeably empty cabinet? Maybe.
The Rockies have been active in making phone calls. Rockies VP of Baseball Operations, Bill Geivett, dispelled rumors last week that shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was on the trading block after it was reported that the St. Louis Cardinals wanted the All-Star. Geivett said Tulo “isn’t going anywhere.” It is a good thing, too, because with the retirement of Todd Helton, the club couldn’t afford the loss of ticket sales if they traded Tulo or CarGo.
Unwilling to trade players away, who are the Rockies reportedly looking at? Aside from chatter about this guy or that guy the Rockies have no shot at landing — Brian Wilson, Mike Napoli, Carlos Ruiz, Nelson Cruz, James Loney, etc. — they did complete one signing that makes perfect sense given their history: sign a soon to be 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins to displace the hard-hurling Rex Brothers as closer come opening day 2014.
LaTroy Hawkins will likely get the job out of spring training, barring injury, because it most certainly won’t come from the collective laughter around the league the Rockies love nepotism and older ballplayers. He will also be paid $2.5 million for his services.
Hawkins appeared in 62 games for the Rockies in 2007, posting a 3.42 ERA, converting zero of his five save opportunities. In his defense, he played last season with the New York Mets and posted a commendable 2.93 ERA in 72 appearances converting 13 of 16 save opportunities. So, it isn’t like he is completely used up like Jamie Moyer was when he came to the Rockies, but Hawkins can’t be too far off. Hawkins is no Mariano Rivera, and the Rockies reached for the budget player over the younger, bearded — yet oft injured — Wilson. The Rockies had zero shot at him, but LaTroy Hawkins … well, that signing was right in their wheelhouse.
Colorado baseball fans can continue to hibernate through the Colorado winter, there isn’t much going on above ground in the Rockies’ world.