Sunday, December 9, 2007

Yankees To Sign Reliever Hawkins

The Yankees are closing in on a one year deal with middle reliever LaTroy Hawkins worth $3.75 million, reports.

The Hawkins signing is obviously no Johan Santana and the journeyman reliever turns 35 this month. However, if it came down to a decision between a long term deal with Luis Vizcaino or a one year commitment to Hawkins, it seems like Cashman's hands were tied. Guess we can thank Chicago's ludicrous Scott Linebrink signing for Vizcaino's newly found opportunism.

Hawkins may not be the same power pitcher that we saw when he was a member of the Twins and Cubs, but he still possesses a mid-90s fastball, decent slider and average changeup. The last two seasons, Hawkins has seen his strikeout totals decline considerably, leading to a k/9 of about 4.50. However, his walk totals have remained low as Hawkins walked 31 batters in 115.2 innings the past two seasons.

Bottom line... the Yankees picked up a decent middle reliever who was able to put up a 3.42 ERA at hitter friendly Coors Field. Had Cashman given a longterm deal which Vizcaino reportedly is seeking, it would have been a big mistake. However, a one year deal means there is very little committment, a surprising agreement considering Hawkins is getting up in age.

The impending Mitchell report - which may be released before Christmas - may have had an impact on LaTroy's financial decision. If he is afraid his name may be brought up in relation to performance enhancing drugs allegations, he hay have had little leverage for a longtime deal and a small window to sign any deal at all.
Scouting Report:

Riding Fastball - (92-97 mph)
Slider or Cut-Fastball - (82-87 mph)
Hard Curve - (75-80 mph)
Changeup - (low 80s mph)
Splitter - (84-86 mph)
From Tyler Kepner of the New York Times:
Hawkins struggled early [in 2007], but after returning from a forearm injury in late May and developing his slider, he had a 2.63 E.R.A. over his last 53 games, with opponents hitting only .233 against him.

Hawkins has worked in at least 60 games in each of the last eight seasons, and only three right-handers — David Weathers, Mike Timlin and Todd Jones — have pitched in more games since 2000.
The Hawk, Rivera and a bunch of baby bombers look to comprise the 2008 Yankees bullpen.

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