Especially, Hawkins said, talks with fellow hurler Jennings, Colorado's No. 1 starter, helped him form a favorable impression of the Rockies. Hawkins will be the primary setup man and will close games when the Rockies want to give regular closer Brian Fuentes a break.
"I know they expressed a lot of interest in me at the trading deadline last year, and from talking with those guys, I knew they had a good, young team," said Hawkins, who went 3-2 with 12 saves and a 4.48 ERA in 60 relief appearances with the Orioles in 2006.
"They've got a team that's on the verge of putting things together," he added. "I remember facing them when I was in San Francisco, and they have a lot of young talent. They were in the playoff hunt until late in the year last year, and they remind me of the team we had when I was coming up with the Twins.
"The thing that impresses me, and it's what Jason talked about, is they play defense. That's what the Twins did -- pitch and play defense. Jason was a big factor in my decision."
The Rockies like having a veteran in a setup role. Hawkins, who will turn 34 on Dec. 16, will take the role occupied last season by Jose Mesa, whom the Rockies still would like to re-sign and use earlier in games.
Hawkins, who faced the Rockies while pitching for the Giants late in the 2005 season, has one save and a 5.40 ERA in four relief appearances covering 3 1/3 innings at Coors Field.
"That ballpark has played better for the pitchers the last couple of years," Hawkins said. "That's not a factor. I've pitched in Wrigley Field, jeez. Camden Yards is not exactly a graveyard for hitters -- the ball goes out. If I keep the ball down, I'll be fine."
Arbitration decisions: Also on Friday, the Rockies decided not to offer arbitration to any of their free agents, although they will continue to try to re-sign Mesa, right-handed reliever Mike DeJean and left-handed reliever Tom Martin.
Mesa was the only one who could have brought the Rockies draft-pick compensation had he been offered arbitration but later decided to sign with another team. As a Type B free agent, the Rockies would have received a "sandwich" pick (between the first and second rounds) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.