LaTroy Hawkins is nowhere near being a problem for the Rockies.
The thought of him as closer may not strike fear into the hearts of opponents nor provide Rockies fans with exuberant confidence at the end of games. He doesn't strike a lot of people out, he gives up some hard hit balls, and he is turning 42 in a few months.
So why did the Rockies pick up his $2.2M option for 2015? Because LaTroy Hawkins gets the job done most of the time.
In 2014, Hawkins threw 54.1 innings notching 23 saves and blowing only three. His ERA (not the best indicator for bullpen guys, but hang in there) finished at 3.31 and his FIP nearly matched it at 3.39. Those numbers are more than worth his contract especially in a bullpen littered with question marks.
On the season, he only struck out 5.30 hitters per nine innings but the FIP numbers suggest he wasn't getting as much help from his defense as it sometimes felt. Hawkins is one of those guys -- sorry for the cliche that drives stat people nuts -- that just knows how to pitch. He knows how to get guys out, is still in phenomenal shape, and hopefully will be on the Rockies coaching staff when he retires in ten years.
He was easily the most reliable option out of the pen for the Rockies in 2014.
2014 Grade: B+
He wasn't a lights-out-dominating closer and the Rockies lack of competitiveness kept him from piling up any kind of impressive save totals, but he was a rock in very unfriendly tides.'
Prediction for 2015
Best case scenario: the Rockies make some additions to the bullpen that include a young, late-inning guy. New guy and a fixed Rex Brothers battle it out for the ninth-inning role and Hawkins settles into a set-up role. He excels in the spot and can even close occasionally, while acting as leader of a newly renovated ‘pen.
Worst case scenario: the Rockies make no significant additions to the bullpen and Hawkins remains closer. His stuff loses a little more effectiveness with age and he starts to give up the long ball more often. The entire Rockies bullpen implodes. Y'know ... again.