The New York Mets are reportedly interested in re-signing veteran pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, per Marc Carig of Newsday. And why wouldn't they? Free agent Hawkins provides much needed leadership on a team filled with youngsters. Besides, with reliever Bobby Parnell's health up in the air, Hawkins is a cheap alternative that gives the team quality innings.
Even though Hawkins didn't name any names, Jim Duquette of MLB.com first tweeted that Hawkins has received phone calls from two interested teams, one more phone call than he had all of last offseason combined.
A baseball source then told Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News that one of the calls came from Mets general manager Sandy Alderson. The source told Ackert that Alderson usually makes the call when they are getting close to making a deal, while usually there are other guys making the call at the beginning stages. It's a sign that the Mets are serious.
So is a LaTroy Hawkins return a good thing for New York?
Absolutely! Hawkins made 72 appearances for the club last season, recorded a 2.93 ERA and had 13 saves since closer Parnell left the team. By late September, he had a 12-inning scoreless streak and recorded his 100th career save.
Hawkins' contract last season came in at a little over $1 million, and Marc Carig of New York Newsday reports there is mutual interest in Hawkins returning.
Right now on the market, there are relievers such as Javier Lopez, Joe Nathan and Joaquin Benoit who are all seeking multi-year contracts and asking for $5 million at least. Hawkins is definitely the cheaper option, and because of his age, he will probably be seeking a one-year deal.
Furthermore, no one really knows what is going on with Parnell. After aggravating his neck in July while playing against the Miami Marlins, Parnell had season-ending surgery in September to fix a herniated disc in his neck. Even manager Terry Collins can't help but be doubtful about a speedy Parnell recovery. Hawkins can be that player who steps in, like he did last year, until Parnell comes back a fighter.
Even if he signs with the Mets but doesn't have a very substantial amount of playing time, Hawkins can definitely nurture his leadership role. With age comes wisdom, and the 40-year-old reliever is the perfect solution to train the young, up-and-coming pitchers.
He played this role perfectly last season when he helped the newly traded pitcher Vic Black adapt to the New York baseball scene. Black told Ackert that unlike other veterans, Hawkins came to him and offered to help, which meant a lot.
Hawkins himself has made it clear about his opinions of New York. He told Ackert that his wife and daughter enjoyed New York, and he developed a bond with his teammates.
With no word on an agreement between the two sides just yet, will you see this vet in the Mets uniform next season? Only time will tell.