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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: LaTROY HAWKINS EXPECTED TO SERVE AS ROCKIES' CLOSER

                                                              

The Colorado Rockies signed RP LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year deal for $2.25 million on Monday which initially didn't raise many eyebrows.  The later announcement by the team that Hawkins was signed to be the team's closer however drew more than its fair share of attention.  Coming off a very good season with the New York Mets in 2013 when Hawkins pitched to a 2.93 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while saving 13-of-16 games in place of the injured Bobby Parnell.  With Parnell the clear cut Met closer going into 2014, Hawkins quickly pounced on a ninth inning opening which many had assumed would belong to top setup man Rex Brothers.  Brothers has been a strikeout machine since settling into the Colorado bullpen in 2011 and his closer stuff seemed a perfect replacement from the deposed Rafael Betancourt.  However Rockies brass apparently wanted more experience in the role which is likely why the signed Hawkins. 

So on the surface, Hawkins has very good fantasy baseball value as only one of 32 closers in the game capable of earning saves right from the start of the season.  However keep in mind Hawkins is turning 41 in December and despite three straight seasons of pitching to an ERA under 3.00, a dropoff could come at a moment's notice.  We also could be looking at a situation where Hawkins starts out as the closer, only to yield the spot to Brothers later on.  If the Rockies fall out of contention, Hawkins would be a prime trade chip the team will likely cash in on.  The value could be good here as the consensus will be what I just talked about which will help keep the price down.  However the long-term viability of Hawkins as the closer is not that good.

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