NEW YORK -- The Mets unearthed the right stone last winter when they signed 40-year-old LaTroy Hawkins to a Minor League deal, watching the 19-year big league veteran add another solid season to his resume.
Their skepticism of a repeat performance at age 41 is a significant reason why Hawkins is no longer a Met.
Though the Mets did make Hawkins a formal contract offer, they were unwilling to match the guaranteed $2.5 million the Rockies dangled in front of him this week. They were also unable to give Hawkins the same assurances as Colorado of a chance at becoming the regular closer.
"I hate to keep emphasizing he's 41, but at that age in this game, I think the financial issue becomes -- not paramount in every case, but important," Alderson said of Hawkins, who will turn 41 next month. "Because Colorado saw him in a particular role, they went to that level that they did."
Hawkins finished the 2013 season with a 2.93 ERA over 72 games, his largest workload in nine seasons. Stepping in at closer after Bobby Parnell suffered a season-ending neck injury, Hawkins drew rave reviews for his work with the younger pitchers on the staff -- particularly Vic Black, who could become the closer if Parnell is not healthy by Opening Day.
"We certainly would have liked to have had him in the 'pen," Alderson said. "But going into spring, I think given the vagaries of relief pitching anyway, and his age and what we have coming -- it wasn't clear what his role would be -- I think we made an offer consistent with that."