Trevor Hoffman, a player known for his impressive saves, has not been offered a return seat to the Padres in 2009. Having withdrawn the contract offer, Padres General Manager, Kevin Towers confirmed the news in a text message to The Associated Press, stating “our offer was withdrawn”. Hoffman is eligible for free agency this fall, having been with the team for 16 seasons, ranking behind John Smoltz, who stayed on for 20.
Ranked first all-time amongst active pitchers, with a career save-percentage of 0.892, Hoffmann, who made $7 million in the 2008 season, was initially offered $4 million for the coming season, plus incentives. Many saw this as a move to politely show him the door, and by Monday night Hoffman was informed about the contract offer being withdrawn.
The Padres are currently in the midst of a financial crisis, with owner John Moores embroiled in a difficult and expensive divorce. Looking to make drastic payroll cuts, the overall San Diego payroll for 2008 was $74 million, but with the trade of pitcher Jake Peavy, as well as a swap of outfielder Brian Giles, coupled with Hoffman’s departure, the projected cut stands at nearly half the total amount.
The last time Hoffman was a free agent, which was right after the 2006 season, his negotiations were not entirely professional. With serious intentions of joining Cleveland Indians, Hoffman was rude to Sandy Alderson, the Padres president. But now, not just the Indians, but the Cardinals, the Mets and many other teams are also in the market for a closing pitcher, or closer.
Hoffman made a lasting impression with a 3.77 ERA, converting 30 of 34 save opportunities, his highest since 1995. Originally drafted as a shortstop for Cincinnati Reds, Hoffman had trouble hitting, and was soon trying his hand at pitching. The speed with which he adapted to this new position, coupled with his stunning ability to repeat his delivery, was soon noticed and Hoffman was picked up by the Florida Marlins in 1992. The very next year he was the best that they offered to the Padres, for Gary Sheffield.
> He pitched in 39 games for the Padres, and by the end of the season was named ‘closer’ for the following year, when he replaced Gene Harris. But the 94 players strike began on an unfortunate note for the player where he injured his shoulder while playing on a beach. He never threw the mid-90s fastball, that had spectators and players stunned alike, again. But he worked his way around and developed a signature throw, which though 10 mph slower than his original fastball, was still as effective for him.
Having consistently posted at least 30 saves a year, except for in 2003, Hoffman has amassed a total of 554 saves in his career. Having finished second in the Cy Young Award, twice, Hoffman has received the top ten MVP votes in five seasons. It is only a matter of time before this talented player finds his way into the Hall of Fame.
Soon, the AC/DC song “Hell’s Bells”, which marks his journey from the bullpen to the mound, as well as the signature style and talent that is Hoffman, will be playing for another team.