Yesterday the Mets announced that they had added former Boston relief pitcher Scott Atchison on a Minor League contract, and today the bullpen bolstering continued. The Mets reached an agreement with right-handed veteran LaTroy Hawkins on a Minor League deal that comes with an invitation to Spring Training.
— LaTroy Hawkins (@LaTroyHawkins32) January 31, 2013
Last season with the Los Angeles Angels, Hawkins pitched to a 3.64 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 13 walks in 42 innings. Hawkins was most recently in the National League with Milwaukee in 2011, when he had a 2.42 ERA in 48.1 innings.
Hawkins turned 40 years old in December and has pitched for the Twins, Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Rockies, Yankees, and Astros in addition to his two most recent stops in Anaheim and Milwaukee. Even at his advanced age and with some less-than-impressive strikeout numbers, Hawkins has proven to be a decent relief pitcher lately.
This appears to be another safe, cost-effective move by the front office that will promote competition in spring training for a limited number of middle relief roster spots. Yes, the consecutive signings of Hawkins and Atchison makes it seems like the Mets are throwing crap at the pen and seeing what sticks, but in this case that is an acceptable strategy. What limited cash the team has to spend is best used on improving the outfield, and veterans are needed to scoop up bullpen spots in case young arms like Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia falter. I say, the more old dudes in spring training, the better.