Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins is drawing interest from the Pirates and five to six other clubs, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding. The Rockies are reportedly hesitant to deal Hawkins, citing his veteran presence and all that jazz as a reason for hanging on to the 41-year-old right-hander.
Hawkins owns a 3.09 ERA/137 ERA+ with 17 saves in 37 appearances. His workload has decreased quite a bit each month since tossing 11⅔ innings in April, a development not all that surprising considering the Rockies' inability to win games and Walt Weiss' reluctance to use Hawkins in non-traditional situations.
Why a deal makes sense
The Pirates are a great fit here for a few reasons. One, the team has an abundance of prospects. Sure, players like Gregory Polanco (now in the majors), Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon and Josh Bell might be off limits, but there is plenty of talent in the team's top 20 that could be for the taking if Pittsburgh feels the need to bolster its bullpen. Right now, pitching is the Pirates' strength, but the team might want to get even stronger in the area of run prevention while dealing with continued growing pains on offense.
For the Rockies, there isn't much use for a successful closer on a last-place team with so many holes in its pitching staff. Any sort of return for Hawkins, who isn't owed much money between now and the end of the season, would have to be considered a success.
Why it doesn't
Beyond Hawkins and Tommy Kahnle, the Rockies' bullpen is a complete disaster. Trading away Hawkins would only make it worse and would signal to the casual fan that the team has no interest in winning games during the remainder of 2014. In addition, the Rockies like what Hawkins' veteran influence brings to a team -- and specifically, relief unit -- that has some good young talent but doesn't quite know h--OK, that's about as far as I can go with that schtick.
If the Rockies can get anything of value for their closer, there is no reason -- good other otherwise -- why they shouldn't do it.
Probability of a deal happening: 3/10
That said, we know how much the Rockies value character and clubhouse presence and all of that other stuff. They're not going to trade Hawkins and will instead waste the rest of this season with him sitting on the end of the bullpen bench for five out of seven days a week. And that's fine; I like LaTroy, and I enjoy watching him confuse and frustrate hitters even though they have every idea what is coming their way.
It's probably just not the smartest baseball decision to not get something for him while he's still effective.