By Joe Christensen
The Twins are interested in bringing back reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who was designated for assignment by the Yankees this past weekend, two people with knowledge of the situation told the Star Tribune.
Hawkins, 35, went 1-1 with a 5.41 ERA in 33 appearances for the Yankees, who designated him after trading for Pittsburgh’s Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte.
Though Hawkins has struggled, the Twins apparently aren’t the only team interested in getting him, as several teams are searching for middle relief help.
Hawkins is making $3.75 million this season, and any team that trades for him would be on the hook for the remaining $1.35 million. The Yankees currently have 10 days to trade him or send him through waivers. (Note, updated those salary numbers after seeing Hawkins’ contract numbers again.)
If the Yankees can’t work a trade, he’d become a free agent, and another team would be able to sign him for about $140,000, with the Yankees on the hook for the rest of his salary. But because several teams are looking for relief help, there’s a belief the Yankees will make a trade soon.
The Yankees might be willing to add cash toward Hawkins’ salary or take on another team’s unwanted contract.
One person close to Hawkins believes he would like to return to Minnesota, where he pitched from 1995 to 2003. Hawkins emerged as a dominant setup man, posting a 2.13 ERA in 2002 and 1.86 ERA in 2003.
Since then, Hawkins has struggled with the Cubs, Giants, Orioles and Yankees. But last year, he posted a 3.42 ERA in 62 appearances with the Rockies, helping them reach the World Series. There’s a belief that Hawkins is simply more comfortable when pitching for a smaller-market club.
When he faced the Twins on Wednesday, his fastball touched 95 miles per hour. With Pat Neshek injured, the Twins have been looking for help in getting the ball from their starters to closer Joe Nathan, just like Hawkins used to provide when the closer was Eddie Guardado.