LaTroy Hawkins had to settle for a minor league deal with the Mets last offseason, but he has found a new home as a closer just one year later.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Rockies have signed Hawkins to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, pending a physical. The Mets, Braves, and Indians were the other teams in the mix, but he jumped at the chance to close games for Colorado. His addition means that the hard-throwing Rex Brothers will slide back into a set-up role.
Hawkins, who turns 41 in December, is coming off an excellent season in which he posted a 2.93 ERA and 55/10 K/BB ratio over 70 2/3 innings. He was impressive while filling in for the injured Bobby Parnell late in the year, going 13-for-16 in save chances. He hasn’t had that many saves since his age-31 season with the Cubs in 2004.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.