Hawkins excited for next chapter with Blue Jays
Veteran reliever headed to 11th team as he plays in his final season
CHICAGO -- Right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins had boarded the Rockies' team bus after Monday night's 9-8 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field when Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich rang to inform him the team had agreed to trade him and star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays for shortstop Jose Reyes and three pitching prospects.
The deal was formally announced Tuesday morning.
Hawkins, the Majors' oldest player at 42, has experienced much in 21 Major League seasons, and switching teams from a non-contender to one with a playoff chance is nothing new. Although he had no idea a deal was coming, he was prepared for the twist of going to Canada, instead of Chicago and St. Louis with the Rockies.
"I guess that's the veteran in me," said Hawkins, who enthusiastically discussed the adventure -- at 3:15 a.m., Chicago time -- as he packed, because sleeping wasn't in his plans. "I travel with my passport, always."
Hawkins announced before the season that he would retire at year's end, but at no point did he plan to coast to the end. Hawkins (2-1, 3.63 ERA in 24 appearances this year) over-prepared in Spring Training, struggled early, and spent eight weeks on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis. But since his return, he has given up just one run in 16 outings.
Hawkins' fastball and slider are sharp, and he feels healthy and ready to help the Jays try to push their way into playoff position.
"I'm excited to be going to an organization that has a chance to win, and they're showing the commitment to winning this year and for years to come," Hawkins said. "I've got three good months left in me. Hopefully, I can help the Blue Jays get to the World Series and win the World Series. That's a wonderful way to end my career. I can't see a more fitting way to end it.
"Everything feels good. I'm excited to go to a place where there's humidity. I didn't let the altitude in Colorado bother me, but I'm happy to be back at sea level. I've seen a lot in my career, and I'm going to take full advantage of this opportunity and see where it ends up."
Hawkins, who pitched for the Rockies in the 2007 World Series and signed one-year deals with them last year and this year, is headed to his 11th team. For the first few weeks he'll get by with just what he packed for this trip, and he hopes some Rockies employees go by his place in Denver and ship him more home comforts.
But it's more than just baseball. Hawkins said the trade came just as his daughter was leaving for vacation with her godmother, and just as his wife, Anita, was beginning a business undertaking -- the opening of a Fresh Healthy Café restaurant in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, where the family lives in the offseason. He's not sure when the family will visit him in his new home.
Hawkins said he had been texting with an equally excited Tulowitzki, whom he's excited about playing with in Toronto. The logistics will be well worth it if the players help the Jays' postseason dreams materialize.
"It's all part of the business," Hawkins said. "Full-steam ahead."