Jesse Spector of the NY Daily News is back, offering more advice to bumbling general managers. Today's column? Set-up men:
LaTroy Hawkins, Astros (Type A; 2009 salary: $3.5 million): The 15-year veteran has been fantastic since the Yankees traded him to Houston in July 2008, even saving 11 games this year while Jose Valverde was injured, but the financial risk is too much for a pitcher who turns 37 in December when the Astros are looking to pare down their payroll.
This one is probably the trickiest of all the Astros' arbitration decisions this off-season. On the one hand, with Valverde likely to exit, LaHawk showed he could handle the 9th inning while Valverde was hurt, or otherwise unavailable. So to offer him arbitration, which he may accept (remember, he lives in Prosper, TX), would be some insurance for when Valverde takes the money and runs.
However, if he does accept, the Astros are probably locked in to a $5 mil contract (pure speculation) for a 37-year old reliever. There is the possibility of the Astros offering him a multi-year deal. Then, if the Astros stumble next season, he would be a more attractive trade candidate.
What say you?