Notes: On LaTroy Hawkins & Wally Backman

By Danny Abriano

Here are today’s pertinent news and notes…

LaTroy Hawkins wants to return, Mets interested:

In today’s Daily News, Andy Martino noted that there’s mutual interest between reliever LaTroy Hawkins and the Mets as far as Hawkins staying on board for 2014 is concerned:

"Hawkins told me on Sunday that he wants to return. He loves playing for Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen, and wants to live with his family in Manhattan for the summer; for a variety of reasons, they were not able to do so (this) summer.  Once the pitcher declared his intentions, I ran this by a front office contact, and came away with a clear answer: Happy with the veteran’s performance and personality, the Mets would love to re-sign him. In a winter that is expected to involve the pursuit of high-profile free agents, Hawkins will not be the first priority, but he wants to play for the Mets, and the Mets want him."

With the 2014 bullpen expected to include Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, and Jeurys Familia, it’s likely that the Mets won’t need Hawkins, 40, to fill a late inning role (as he’s done for the majority of this season) in 2014.

Sep 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins (32) gives a fist bump to a teammate after the New York Mets 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

However, Hawkins should come cheap (he’s making $1 million this season), and would likely only require a one year commitment.  In addition, as noted by Martino in today’s article and all season long by many others connected with the Mets, Hawkins has been a great presence in the clubhouse and a solid performer on the field.

In 65.2 innings pitched this season, Hawkins has allowed 68 hits, walked just 10 batters, and struck out 52.  He has a 3.15 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.  Hawkins has been solid since taking over as closer for Bobby Parnell, and having him back next year in a less pressurized role seems to be a no-brainer move for the Mets.

What’s the latest with Wally Backman?

According to John Harper in yesterday’s Daily News, AAA manager Wally Backman was not at all miffed at being passed over for a role on the big league coaching staff this September.  Writes Harper:

"‘Sandy (Alderson) called me,’ Backman said by phone on Friday, ‘and said, ‘you had a great year, but we’re only adding one guy and I’d like to give Pedro the opportunity.’ Pedro has never been on a big-league staff, so I told Sandy, ‘I think it’s a great gesture.’  Backman also said he’s not necessarily looking to leave the organization if the Mets, as expected, give Collins a new contract after the season."

It’s nice that Backman is taking the high road, but his comments about not looking to leave the club after the season strike me as a bit hollow.  As things currently stand, Backman has nothing to benefit by stating publicly that he’s looking to leave.

His game-plan (which it appears he’s using) should be to sit tight and hope against hope he winds up on the Mets’ big league coaching staff in some capacity.  If he doesn’t, I’d expect him to leave the organization – regardless of what he’s stating publicly at the moment.

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