Reports on Wednesday say the Mets have reached out to free agent reliever LaTroy Hawkins about re-signing with the club for next season. However, he might become too expensive for a return engagement.
Various estimates put Hawkins’s 2014 salary at anywhere from $3 million-$5 million. That is an awful lot to pay for a middle reliever, especially one who will turn 41 next month.
LaTroy Hawkins certainly had an excellent season for the Mets in 2013 — a 2.93 ERA in 72 games, and more importantly, he stepped in as the closer after Bobby Parnell went down and recorded 13 saves. He only blew one save after being handed the job. But there is no way to guarantee that Hawkins can repeat that performance at his advanced age.
Aside from that, there is no way the Mets should pay any reliever that much money, given how many holes have to be filled on the roster and the Mets limited budget. That kind of money for middle relievers should only be spent by teams who are ready to go for a championship. Sadly, the Mets are far from that position.
The bullpen will be fine in 2014 without Hawkins. The Mets have Parnell, Josh Edgin, Scott Rice and Vic Black returning. Parnell and Edgin should be fully recovered from their injuries. Carlos Torres should be the long man.
That leaves two spots. Internal candidates include Gonzalez Germen and Jeurys Familia. And then there are the dozens of middle relievers who are always available at this time of year. Sandy Alderson is always scraping the bottom of this barrel; sometimes he comes up with stinkers, but he does get lucky every now and then.
The point is, there is no reason for the Mets to pay millions of dollars for such a reliever when low-cost options are out there. Save the rest of the money for more important parts of the team.