LaTroy Hawkins a Brewer

Gads. The Brewers went on a bit of a spending bender on pitchers today, signing Randy Wolf and now LaTroy Hawkins to a $7.5 million deal. The Brewers are penciling him in to set up their ancient-yet-effective closer Trevor Hoffman. It’s probably not a terrible idea to have a fallback option should age finally catch up Hoffman, although Hawkins is 37-years old himself.

Stuff-wise, Hawkins has evolved into a bit of a different animal since his glory days as a Minnesota Twin. He used rely on the strength of his fastball almost exclusively. Since becoming a vagabond reliever, he’s become more reliant on a couple of breaking pitches; a hard slider and a curveball. At 37 years young, Hawkins can still bring the heat, averaging 94 on his fastball last season.

I’m thinking Doug Melvin came away a little too impressed with some of his baseball card numbers last year: 11 saves, 19 holds and 2.13 ERA in 65 appearances. Hawkins’ 2.13 ERA can largely be credited to a 90% strand rate. Despite a solid arsenal of pitches, Hawkins has a middling strikeout rate for a reliever at 6.4 K/9. He also has experienced some on-again/off-again bouts with gopheritis; last season his HR/FB rate was 12%. Combine a 25% line-drive rate and Hawkins gave up his fair share of hard contact last season. One of his saving graces he does a solid job at giving up free passes.

Take away the veneer of a shiny ERA and you have a 3.97 FIP and a oogly 5.25 tRA. His xFIPs for the previous two seasons are 4.10 and 3.97. Hawkins is more of a “proven commodity” than some of the other available free agent relievers out there, but there are cheaper and probably more effective ways of cobbling together a bullpen than this.

I wonder what sort of money Kiko Calero will get. And is anyone else fascinated with Winston Abreu’s MLE besides me?

Erik Manning is the founder of Future Redbirds and covers the Cardinals for Heater Magazine. You can get more of his analysis and rantings in bite-sized bits by following him on twitter.

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Doug Melvin
12 years ago

Yeah, I was high. There’s no way to defend this.