Chicago Cubs: Five players who would benefit from a mulligan

Craig Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Craig Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs, LaTroy Hawkins (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: LaTroy Hawkins

I’ve always felt bad for LaTroy Hawkins. I believe he tried his hardest, and overall his numbers during his one-and-a-half year stretch with the Cubs weren’t terrible. However, he failed to come through in some of his most essential outings, and because of that, he remains vilified by Cubs fans to this day.

Hawkins was a dominant relief pitcher for the Minnesota Twins in 2002 and 2003, and before the 2004 season, the right-hander signed a free-agent contract with the Cubs. It was supposed to be one of those moves that put the team over the top after the near-miss in 2003. With Joe Borowski going down due to injury, Hawkins stepped in as closer and converted 25 saves and posted a nice ERA overall of 2.63.

Yet Hawkins also blew nine saves, including two big ones down the stretch as the Cubs fell out of the NL Wild Card race. The September 25 game in which he gave up a three-run home run in the ninth inning to the New York Mets, for me, remains among the most devastating regular-season losses I’ve ever seen. He continued to blow a few games in 2005 before being traded to the San Francisco Giants; later, he returned to Wrigley Field to chants of, “Hawkins Sucks!” He stayed in the league for another decade, bouncing around to several different teams.

On the one hand, it would be nice if Hawkins could get a second chance at being a Cub. On the other hand, maybe he wouldn’t want to do it over again after what the fans put him through. In any case, it’s a significant example of how cruel that baseball can be.