Free Agent reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who filled a middle relief and set-up role for the Colorado Rockies in 2007, agreed to contract terms of $3.75 million, 1 year with the New York Yankees who solidified their bullpen behind future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera. The trade helped the Yanks move closer to being in position to transfer youngster Joba Chamberlain to the starter rotation.
The AP report on the deal for Yahoo Sports provides background on the deal;
Hawkins, who turned 35 last Friday, was 2-5 with a 3.42 ERA last season for the Colorado Rockies. He made $3.25 million and Colorado declined a $3.75 million option, choosing to pay a $250,000 buyout.
New York’s middle relievers struggled last season, with Kyle Farnsworth and Luis Vizcaino pitching inconsistently for long stretches. The Yankees converted Joba Chamberlain, a starter in the minors, into a reliever for the final two months of the season. Chamberlain became Mariano Rivera’s primary setup man, but New York plans on including Chamberlain in its starting rotation next year.
Vizcaino agreed to a $7.5 million, two-year contract with the NL champion Rockies this month.
Hawkins was consistent in both middle relief and set-up roles with the Rockies in 2007 posting a 25 mark with a 3.42 ERA. A 12 year veteran who began his career as a starter and who posted a career mark of 56-76 with 75 saves and a 4.68 ERA, Hawkins posted his best years in 2002 (6-0, 80 1/3 inn., 2.13 ERA) and 2003 (9-3, 2 SV, 77 1/3 inn., 1.86 ERA) with the Minnesota Twins and with the Chicago Cubs in 2004 (5-4, 25 SV, 82 inn., 2.63 ERA).
Hawkins raised some eyebrows on New York talk radio while being questioned about the impact of steroids. He responded to questions about allegations against Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens this way;
“It’s not any of my business. First of all the thing is I don’t care. Only person cared about that was [Commissioner Bud] Selig. I don’t care about it. That’s just my own personal opinion.”
Then when asked if he cared “if hitters are juicing up,” he responded;
“No, I don’t. That’s just my personal opinion. Still got to hit the ball, brother.”