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The Tigers Are Talkin' to LaTroy Hawkins

Maybe I shouldn't have made too much fun of the Minnesota Twins for welcoming a couple of Detroit Tigers cast-offs, since it looks like a chapter of the Former Twinkies Club might start up at Comerica Park. (It could also be a Former Cubbies Club, depending on which way these guys choose to roll.)

The Freep's Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that the Tigers are moving in fast on reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who pitched last year with the National League champion Colorado Rockies. A former teammate of Jacque Jones with both the Twins and Cubs, Hawkins (soon to be 35 years old) is apparently a popular free agent target among several major league teams, which seems to have prompted Detroit to already offer a multi-year contract.

In 62 games with the Rockies this past season, Hawkins posted a 2-5 record and 3.42 ERA in 55 1/3 innings, with 29 strikeouts and 16 walks. During Colorado's playoff run, he allowed one run and two hits in five innings. After the season, however, the Rox decided to pay a $250,000 buyout rather than bring him back for a $3.75 million salary next year.

What might make Detroit an ideal fit for Hawkins is that he wouldn't have to be the closer, a role that he's often struggled with (though he's twice notched more than 25 saves in a season), leading him to bounce among four teams in the last three seasons. His best year was probably 2004 with the Cubs, with 25 saves and a 2.63 ERA. However, Hawkins also blew nine saves that season.

With the Tigers, of course, he would be a set-up man (as he was in Colorado), likely taking over Joel Zumaya's seventh inning role in the bullpen.

(via MLB Trade Rumors)

UPDATE: According to our man The Cutoff Man, it looks like the Tigers were originally after another Colorado reliever, Matt Herges. But with Herges re-signing with the Rockies, Detroit's moved toward Hawkins as a fall-back choice.