Hawkins to discuss options with Astros
Could serve as closer with Valverde declining arbitration
INDIANAPOLIS -- Hoping to get a deal in place by the end of the Winter Meetings, free-agent pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday afternoon to meet with the Astros and perhaps other teams.
Houston is searching for relief pitching after closer Jose Valverde informed the team late Monday that he was declining arbitration. Hawkins worked his way into the Astros' setup role last year and even spent time as closer when Valverde was injured.
"There's some opportunities out there we've got to look at and figure out what's going to be in his best interest and move from there," Hawkins' agent, Larry Reynolds, said.
Astros general manager Ed Wade declined to comment.
Wade has said that he would be open to Hawkins serving as the team's closer in 2010. Hawkins went 1-4 with a 2.13 ERA with 11 saves last season for Houston at a base salary of $3.5 million. He wound up making close to $4 million with incentives, and the Astros have had a contract offer on the table for several weeks.
"We'll continue to have dialogue with LaTroy," Wade said late Monday. "We've never walked away from the Hawkins situation. We've just recognized if Valverde accepted it would put some limitations on how much we could spend in the eighth and ninth innings. There's Hawkins and a number of other guys that we think fit the profile, not only of what LaTroy does but with the potential of being able to close."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.