So, how did LaTroy Hawkins convince the Brewers to give him a two-year, $7.5 million deal at age 37? According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he schmoozed them in person at the winter meetings:
“It helped he was in Indianapolis with his representative, Larry Reynolds,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “I had a chance to meet with him. Whenever you have a chance to meet with someone in person, it always helps negotiations. LaTroy wanted to come up and meet us.” …
“I’m a firm believer that talking to a guy in person, you get to know him a little bit better,” Hawkins said. “I watched this team from afar and really admired what they’ve done the last few years putting a team together. I just wanted to be a part of that.”
And the $7.5 million probably wasn’t bad either.
My cousin has a friend who’s a member of the LaTroy Hawkins fan club dating back to his days with the Twins and basically describes “Hawk” as the world’s nicest person. And whether in Minnesota, Chicago, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Baltimore, or Colorado the reporters covering Hawkins’ teams have also tended to rave about how friendly and accessible he is.
The morale of the story? If you’re a really nice, outgoing person and have a 3.29 ERA in 655 career relief appearances you can probably earn yourself some extra cash along the way.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.