When the Mets lost LaTroy Hawkins to the Rockies in November, I wrote that “this really is not that big of a deal.” I stand by that statement, but with the Mets apparently chasing relievers that would cost far more than Hawkins, I wonder why the Mets did not just re-sign him.
Reports last week claimed the Mets offered Grant Balfour as much or more than the two-year, $12 million he got from the Rays. Now there is word the Mets are looking at Fernando Rodney, who will probably cost even more than that.
LaTroy Hawkins would have cost just $2.5 million for one season. Yes, Hawkins is 41, but he pitched extremely well for the Mets in 2013, not blowing a save after stepping in as the closer when Bobby Parnell went down.
There can only be two reasons the Mets are seeking an expensive closer-type — Parnell may not be fully recovered from neck surgery, or they doubt his ability to close games. The latter was a valid concern last year at this time, but Parnell erased those fears by having an excellent year before he suffered his season-ending injury.
So the question remains, why didn’t Sandy Alderson just re-sign Hawkins? Not only did he pitch well, he was praised as a positive influence in the clubhouse, taking young pitchers under his wing.
Alderson certainly does not have an issue signing 40+ pitchers, as his signing of Bartolo Colon showed. Maybe the Mets brain trust just thinks LaTroy Hawkins is done.
Or maybe, just maybe, Alderson truly thinks the Mets are ready to compete in 2014. Signing an expensive set-up man is something that contenders do. Second-division clubs do not waste that kind of money at that position. I think Alderson is delusional if this is what he thinks, but hey, you can’t blame him. After all, he built this club.
I have another theory. Perhaps Alderson has Omar Minaya disease — the inability to do two things at once. Remember Minaya seemingly was unable to pursue two transactions at once? Maybe Alderson is the same way. In mid-November he was busy wooing Chris Young, so there was no time to worry about the bullpen.
Alderson seems like a bright guy so I doubt that is the case. But it is curious that he declined to sign a proven reliever at a relatively low cost when he is now apparently pursing similar pitchers at a much higher price.