02.26.06

Dusty Recommends Hawkins For Closer Role

Posted in Baseball at 11:05 am by

The above headline, is not a joke. I think. From the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck.

The Chicago Cubs may have decided that LaTroy Hawkins wasn’t cut out to be their full-time closer after the shaky start last year that cost him the job and eventually prompted a trade to the San Francisco Giants, but Cubs manager Dusty Baker won’t discount the possibility that he could successfully fill that role if the Orioles need him in the ninth inning.

“He has the stuff,” Baker said after Friday’s workout at the Cubs’ spring training facility. “Sometimes, it takes guys time to do that. Mike Jackson was a setup guy for a long time and had some success [as a closer] after not having much success in the beginning.”

Hawkins has had some success. He recorded 14 saves in 14 attempts for the Minnesota Twins in 2000 after struggling in the starting rotation for three seasons, then came back in 2001 to save 28 games … but the devil is in the details.

He blew nine saves that year and had a 5.96 ERA. The Cubs tried him in the closer’s role and he saved 25 games in 2004, but he blew nine saves and was ineffective in the ninth inning for the Cubs and Giants in 2005.

“Sometimes, he has trouble finishing guys off,” Baker said. “That last out can be hard to get.”

One Response to “Dusty Recommends Hawkins For Closer Role”

  1. ben schwartz says:

    I’m not surprised Dusty is backing Walkins now since he was backing him after he was traded to SF and chastising Cub fans for booing him when he returned to Wrigley as an opposing player. And maybe Dusty’s right — Hawkins’ wouldn’t be unique in his post-Cub career if he emerged as a major closer, get traded to the Cards, and shut the Cubs down in game after game.

    Ben

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