Results tagged ‘ Trevor Hoffman ’

Hoffman speaks fondly of Brewers tenure

Trevor Hoffman participated in a conference call with national reporters on Wednesday afternoon after formally announcing the end of his 18-year playing career. He spent his final two seasons in a Brewers uniform and spoke fondly of that time. 

“I got to meet such great staff people, from the front office down to the clubhouse, and got to see how things ran in a different way,” said Hoffman, who might end up using that knowledge in his new role as a Padres special assistant to the president. 
“To have interaction with such passionate, rabid fans, and see the support they gave the club those two years, it was a breath of fresh air,” Hoffman said. “It was something I really look back on with great memories.”
It wasn’t all easy. Hoffman logged 37 saves and made the National League All-Star team in 2009, his first season after leaving San Diego. But he struggled at the start of 2010 and lost the closer’s job to John Axford, and didn’t log save No. 600 until Sept. 7. 
Still, Hoffman says the move to Milwaukee was the right one. 
“Absolutely,” he said. “I looked at it as an opportunity to fit in with a similar dynamic, a smaller city, and it was. But the passion — I don’t think that as a player you understand it until you’re in it. That part of it was pretty evident.” 
*
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter

Hoffman retires

News from MLB.com national reporter Barry Bloom today:

Trevor Hoffman, certainly the top National League closer of his era, has decided to retire, ending his stellar 18-year career, he told MLB.com in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
The right-handed reliever will finish with an all-time record 601 regular-season saves, 42 ahead of Yankees great Mariano Rivera who is in second place at 559. Hoffman, whose career ended with the Brewers, turned 43 on Oct. 13. He will return to the Padres — the franchise where he built his reputation — in a still undefined front-office role, he said.
“It’s time to retire. It’s time to move on,” Hoffman said via phone from San Diego, where he and his family still make their home. “This is more of a self-evaluation. I expect to pitch at a certain level and I had to be honest with myself that I wasn’t certain I could maintain that anymore.”
The Padres are planning a news conference on Wednesday at PETCO Park to announce the retirement and Hoffman’s new role.
Hoffman, who did not exactly part ways with the Padres amicably after the 2008 season, said it was time to put all that acrimony to rest. The team’s front office has almost completely turned over since then, with only majority owner John Moores still involved in the operations. Hoffman left as a free agent after a breakdown in negotiations, ultimately signing with Milwaukee.
“I would say it’s the old adage — that time was the real healer,” said Hoffman, who recorded 552 of his saves pitching for the Padres from 1993-2008. “Sometimes you have to take a step back. I understand that some of it is about baseball being a business, but I don’t really want to rehash all that. There’s been a turnover of people there who wanted to reconcile and I’ve been cool with it. A couple of years definitely makes a big difference.”
The Padres did ask Hoffman if he wanted to get back in uniform for one day and retire, but he declined the request.
“No I won’t do that,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman pitched the past two seasons and logged his final 47 saves in a Brewers uniform, including the milestone No. 600 on Sept. 7 of last season against the Cardinals. That moment was included in MLB.com’s 10 for ’10 series, and I spoke to Hoffman just before the holidays about his career crossroads. Obviously, he’s come to a big decision since then.

Best of luck to one of the best guys who ever donned a Milwaukee uniform. 
*
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter

Hoffman at a career crossroads

Hoffman7.jpgFor those who missed it over the past two days, we featured Trevor Hoffman’s 600th save as part of MLB.com’s 10 for ’10 series, highlighting the biggest moments of 2010. I spoke to Hoffman just before the holiday and he had some interesting things to say about his future as 2011 loomed. 

Right now, the offers are sparse. But Hoffman, a light-hitting shortstop who converted to pitching in 1991 and made his mark over 16 seasons with the San Diego Padres, still isn’t resigned to retirement.
His best fit might have been with the D-backs, but they signed closer J.J. Putz to a two-year deal during the Winter Meetings.
“Arizona got hot there for a little bit, but that closed when J.J. signed,” Hoffman said. “It seemed like a pretty good opportunity.
“I haven’t come to grips yet whether, if something comes along, I want to pitch. That needs to be cleared up first,” Hoffman said. “I’m kind of enjoying being normal and having an offseason. Usually, after only a few weeks you’re beginning the process again of getting your body in tune. I haven’t really engaged in the continual workouts like I’ve done in previous years, and it’s been a little refreshing. I’m hoping it will bring clarity into the decision.”
It’s not just the opportunity to play dad to sons Brody, Quinn and Wyatt. Hoffman has been having fun himself — golfing, surfing, playing tennis with Tracy and road biking up the California coast. He’s keeping his arm in shape by throwing batting practice to his kids.
If he’s done, he’ll always have 600. The Brewers presented Hoffman with a painting commemorating the milestone, and it hangs in a “dig me” hallway at Hoffman’s home with other memorabilia from his big moments.
“I would have been really miserable right now had I not been able to get there,” Hoffman said from his San Diego home. “That’s for sure.”
For more on Hoffman and the rest of out 10 for ’10 series, click over to Brewers.com.
*
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter

Hoffman still wants to close

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney heard that all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman is telling teams he still wants a chance to be a closer in 2011. It’s getting more difficult to find potential landing spots since Arizona signed J.J. Putz to a two-year deal last week and the Padres intend to keep Heath Bell in that role. 

Might the Dodgers be a fit? It seems they aren’t thrilled with Jonathan Broxton, and recently-signed veteran Vicente Padilla is being mentioned as a possible closer. Hoffman seriously considered the Dodgers before he signed with Milwaukee two winters ago, and spacious Dodger Stadium could be a nice fit. 
Just a thought. There’s also the possibility that Hoffman will decide to retire if he doesn’t find a good match. He turned 43 in October.
Hoffman was a Type B free agent who was offered arbitration and declined per a pre-arranged deal. That means if he signs a Major League contract with another club this winter, the Brewers will reap an extra pick between the first- and second rounds of next year’s Draft. 
*
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter

Brewers offer arbitration to Hoffman

UPDATE at 6:20 p.m. CT: The Brewers indeed had a gentlemen’s agreement agreement with Hoffman to decline the arbitration offer, according to a source who would know. It doesn’t hurt him at all in negotiating with other clubs, and the Brewers get an extra Draft pick between the first and second rounds if he signs with another team before the Draft. “It’s the right thing to do,” the source said.
In a surprise move, the Brewers offered arbitration to free agent reliever Trevor Hoffman on Tuesday, positioning the team to receive a compensatory pick in next year’s Draft should Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader sign elsewhere for 2011. 
Hoffman was rated a Type B free agent by the Elias Sports Bureau, the only Brewers free agent who qualified for compensation. Under the rules, if such a player is offered arbitration, declines the offer and then signs with a new team, his former team receives an extra pick between the first and second rounds of the subsequent First-Year Player Draft. 
If a player accepts the offer, he is considered signed for the subsequent season and his salary is determined through arbitration. Per the rules, his salary cannot be cut by more than 20 percent. 
Hoffman earned more than $7 million during a disappointing 2010 season in which the Brewers identified a number of younger, cheaper bullpen options, and he turned 43 in October, factors that led most observers to believe that the Brewers would not extend an arbitration offer. But teams occasionally strike deals in which compensation-eligible players agree ahead of time to decline the offer. For Type B players, there’s no negative effect because, unlike Type A free agents, their new team is not required to forfeit a Draft pick. 
The Yankees and fellow Type B player Javier Vazquez reportedly made such a gentlemen’s agreement this week by which Vazquez, who earned $11.5 million in 2010, agreed to decline an arbitration offer. 
Hoffman, the all-time leader with 601 saves, notched 37 saves for the Brewers in 2009 and made the National League All-Star team, but lost Milwaukee’s closer role in May after suffering five blown saves in his first 10 chances of 2010. He rebounded in the second half and reached the 600-save milestone on Sept. 7 at Miller Park but said later that month he expected to depart via free agency. The Brewers have handed closer duties to right-hander John Axford, who went 24-for-27 in save chances as Hoffman’s replacement. 
Hoffman’s agent is Rick Thurman of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, the same firm that represents Axford. 
Hoffman lives in San Diego and likely will look for a West Coast team willing to offer at least a chance to close games. He expressed interest in the D-backs to MLB.com earlier this month. 
The Brewers’ other free agents — Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, Craig Counsell, Doug Davis and Gregg Zaun — did not qualify for Draft compensation under an Elias system that takes into account a player’s statistics over the previous two seasons. 
*
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter

Hoffman talks 2011, interest in Arizona

Hoffman5.jpgOutgoing Brewers reliever Trevor Hoffman spoke to MLB.com’s Barry Bloom about an uncertain future on Tuesday and was candid about one team that could make sense — Arizona. 

Hoffman wants to close, but conceded his up-and-down 2010 season with the Brewers (or was it down-and-up?) will give many teams pause. But the D-backs might be one club willing to give him a shot because they have a need for relievers and because their new general manager is Kevin Towers, who has lots of history with Hoffman from San Diego. 
It’s clear that he’s not coming back to Milwaukee. Hoffman, who provided perhaps the highlight of the Brewers’ 2010 season when he logged career save No. 600, became a free agent when the club declined its half of his mutual option last week. The Brewers will continue into 2011 with John Axford as the closer. 
Hoffman, meanwhile, will “see what’s out there” before making any decisions. 
“It’s not a situation where I’m going to pursue it very hard,” he said. “If it’s something that makes sense, if it’s an opportunity for me to close, I’ll look at it. If it’s something that doesn’t make any sense, I’ll probably retire.”
For the rest of Barry’s story, click over to MLB.com. It includes some interesting comments from Hoffman’s agent, Rick Thurman, about the elbow injury that hampered him in the first half, and more about the possible fit with the D-backs.
*
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter

Amid flurry of moves, Brewers cut ties with Hoffman

The Brewers on Tuesday declined 2011 contract options for pitchers Trevor Hoffman and Doug Davis and catcher Gregg Zaun, adding all three veterans to the pool of Major League free agents. 
All three moves were widely expected. 
The highest profile of those players belongs to 43-year-old Hoffman, who notched his 600th career save amid a trying 2010 but was replaced as closer by rookie right-hander John Axford. Hoffman’s contract included a $7 million mutual option for 2011, and the price of his buyout increased from $500,000 to $750,000 when Hoffman finished his 35th game of the season on Sept. 26. 
Davis’ deal included a $6.5 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout. His 2010 season was a bust because of health issues. 
Zaun’s contract included a $2.25 million club option for next season, but he is still recovering from shoulder surgery and will get a $250,000 buyout instead. Zaun said in August that he intends to play in 2011, but considering the Brewers have Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras on the 40-man roster and Mike Rivera signed to a Minor League contract, it’s difficult to envision Zaun returning. 
The team also made two additions on Tuesday, claiming 29-year-old right-handed pitcher Justin James off waivers from the Oakland A’s and selecting the contract of catcher Martin Maldonado from Triple-A Nashville. Both James and Maldonado took spots on the 40-man roster. 
James was pitching in the Arizona Fall Leagues for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, who happened to square-off on Tuesday against a Surprise Rafters team that includes the Brewers’ own slew of prospects. James finished the 2010 season in the Majors with five appearances in relief for the A’s but spent most of the year in the Minors, compiling a 1.83 ERA at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. 
Maldonado, 24, is a defensive-minded catcher who batted .239 at three stops in Milwaukee’s Minor League chain in 2010. He’s currently playing for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League.  
*
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter

Three Brewers hit the market; three more coming

The celebration was still raging inside the Giants’ clubhouse in Arlington and outside in the streets of San Francisco on Monday night when baseball’s offseason business began. Before midnight, the Major League Baseball Players Association fired up the hot stove by releasing the names of 142 free agents, including three Brewers. 
Per new rules made public just last month, Milwaukee pitchers Dave Bush and Chris Capuano and infielder Craig Counsell were declared free agents immediately after the Giants clinched the World Series. Three more — pitchers Doug Davis and Trevor Hoffman and catcher Gregg Zaun — are expected to join the free agent pool when the Brewers decline their 2011 options. 
The new rules dictate that options must be resolved within three days of the end of the World Series, Milwaukee assistant general manager Gord Ash said. That would make Thursday at midnight ET the deadline. 
The rules also shorten the period of exclusive negotiation between teams and their own free agents from 15 days after the World Series to five. That window closes at midnight ET on Saturday. Beginning Sunday, free agents can negotiate with any team. 
Players typically exercise their right to test the open market, but the Brewers may show some interest in bringing back Capuano or Counsell. With Capuano, the question could be whether the team is willing to take on risk — the left-hander returned in 2010 from his second career Tommy John surgery but pitched well, posting a 3.95 ERA in 24 appearances including a 2.91 ERA in six September starts. With Counsell, the question could be whether he views the Brewers as a legitimate contender — he batted .250 as a useful bench option and could draw interest from teams looking for a versatile defender. 
The three players with options, meanwhile, will probably move on. 
The highest profile of those players belongs to 43-year-old Hoffman, who notched his 600th career save amid a trying 2010 but was replaced as closer by rookie right-hander John Axford. Hoffman’s contract includes a $7 million mutual option for 2011 that the club will decline. The price of his buyout increased from $500,000 to $750,000 when Hoffman finished his 35th game of the season on Sept. 26. 
Davis’ deal includes a $6.5 million option with a $1 million buyout. His 2010 season was a bust because of health issues. 
Zaun’s contract includes a $2.25 million club option for next season, but he is still recovering from shoulder surgery and will almost certainly get a $250,000 buyout instead. Zaun said in August that he intends to play in 2011, but considering the Brewers have Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras on the 40-man roster and Mike Rivera signed to a Minor League contract, it’s difficult to envision Zaun returning. 
Of the Brewers’ free agents, only Hoffman qualified for compensation in the Elias rankings. Hoffman made the cut as Type B, meaning the Brewers would reap an extra pick between the first and second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, but only if they offer Hoffman arbitration and he declines and then signs elsewhere. 
It’s a moot point, because the Brewers would not risk Hoffman accepting an arbitration offer. That means the Brewers will not have any extra Draft picks for the second straight year. 
*
Follow me on Twitter

Recapping a busy home finale

The Brewers beat the Marlins in a 7-1 rout in Sunday’s home finale, but the result was secondary on an emotional afternoon at Miller Park. For those who have yet to sift through the links on Brewers.com, here’s a bit of a recap:

– Their 2010 season was a dud, so Brewers fans instead made the team’s home finale a celebration of individual milestones and sendoffs for players who are likely moving on. They turned a win over the Marlins into a series of standing ovations and almost made everyone forget that the team still has a week to play.
Ryan Braun came from behind to win the Brewers’ three-man race to 100 RBIs, Prince Fielder homered in what could be his final home game with the Brewers and Trevor Hoffman made one last entrance to AC/DC’s “Hells Bells.” All three players were showered with love from the 29,059 fans, who pushed the Brewers’ season attendance over 2.75 million.
– On more note on Hoffman: Sunday marked his 35th game finished, a milestone that pushed the cost of the buyout of his 2011 club option from $500,000 to $750,000. That financial boost aside, Hoffman once more thanked his supporters for never giving up on him.
“I can’t begin to say thanks enough,” Hoffman said. “For a guy sitting on a six-ERA and part of a big problem, to get treated like I did by the fans here — I appreciate their support.”
– Hoffman was offered a standing ovation and so was Fielder, who might just have played his final home game for the Brewers. Fielder commented before the game to me and after the game to me and 30 of my closest microphone-wielding friends about his uncertain future. 
He didn’t offer much in the way of insight, saying that he’s under contract for 2011 and planning to be back. Whether he departs this winter, Fielder said, “is not up to me,” once again glossing over the point that he reportedly turned down a significant contract offer earlier this year. 
– The only blemish of the Brewers’ win over the Marlins came in the seventh inning, when starter Chris Capuano exited with a groin injury. He downplayed its significance and talked instead about his inspiring comeback season from a second Tommy John surgery, and touched briefly on his own uncertain future. Capuano is a free agent for the first time. 
– Staying on the “uncertain future” theme, manager Ken Macha made sure to get Craig Counsell into the lineup for Sunday’s finale. Counsell, too, is a free agent, and said he’s going to take the best available offer this winter. He’s earned that right. 
– Then there’s Macha himself, who was asked by reporters after the game about his own contract status. Here are Doug Melvin’s brief comments on that situation, saying that the team will wait until after the season to announce any personnel decisions. 
And while we’re at it, here are a couple of other links you may have missed over the weekend:
Mark DiFelice is coming back to the Brewers in 2011. I learned subsequently that catchers Patrick Arlis and Anderson Delarosa, infielder Anderson Machado and left-hander Chase Wright have also already signed Minor League deals for next season. 
– Our report about the Brewers’ Minor League player and pitcher of the year includes video of both Erik Komatsu and Jake Odorizzi, not to mention amateur scouting director Bruce Seid. 
*
Follow Brew Beat on Twitter

No shortage of praise for Hoffman in clubhouse

Following last night’s thriller, which featured career save No. 600 for Trevor Hoffman, we had a sidebar on his Brewers teammates’ reactions to the moment.
While that story captured the emotions and feelings in the clubhouse, there was far too much to fit in after the game. With a guy like Hoffman who’s frequently described as the “best teammate,” there was hardly of lack of things to say in the home clubhouse.
Braun: “Like we were going to the playoffs”
According to left fielder Ryan Braun, the emotion following the final out of the game was far greater than the meaningless early September game that it starter out as.
“It felt like we were going to the playoffs,” he said. “It was exciting. I think it was exciting for all of us to have something to celebrate, for all of us to have been a part of something so special. That’s something that we might not ever see again. Who knows if anybody else ever gets to 600 saves.”
Coffey: “I was 100 percent spectator”
Perhaps most excited about the achievement — more so even than Hoffman himself — were Hoffman’s bullpen mates.
Reliever Todd Coffey described his feelings as “beyond goosebumps” as he become more of a spectator than a teammate. After that, he went on for a few minutes about the emotions he felt both when Hoffman entered the game and recorded his 600th save.
“As soon as he walked out of the bullpen, the entire bullpen was up and I think we were all clapping louder than the fans, we were hollering louder than the fans,” Coffey said. “I don’t think any of us actually realized we were in the bullpen. We were all out there with Hoffy.
“We were hanging over, we even thought about, ‘let’s just jump the wall and go. Then we thought, ‘we better not jump the wall.’
“I think me, Zach [Braddock] and Kam[eron Loe] all hit the pile at the same time. I think I felt the whole pile moving when we hit it. It’s an experience that I’ll never forget. He’s always there for every one of us. For us to be there for him, it’s amazing. He cares less about himself and more about his teammates than anything else.”
Davis: “Just incredible”
Others had less to say, but their thoughts were no less insightful.
Veteran left-handed starter Doug Davis recalled being part of a similar moment early in his career.
“Definitely the most exciting thing I’ve ever been a part of,” Davis said. “My first win was John Wetteland’s 300th save. I thought that was impressive, but this, twice as many saves, it’s just incredible.”
Bush: “An amazing number”
Another Brewers starter, right-hander Dave Bush, took particular notice of the number of people in the dugout during that final inning, as everyone wanted the best view they could get of Hoffman’s historic save.
“It’s an amazing number, one that nobody’s ever gotten to before,” Bush said. “I can’t even fathom at all what it takes to reach that.
“It was exciting. Probably the most people I’ve ever seen in the dugout in the ninth inning. Everybody was coming down here because they wanted to be as close to it as they could. As a player, moments like that are few and far between. To be his teammate and to be around for something like is just awesome.”
Lucroy: “I’m totally lucky and blessed”
After beginning the season at Double-A Huntsville, catcher Jonathan Lucroy called the game Tuesday night, including Hoffman’s thrilling ninth.
As he waited on the mound for the all-time saves leader, with “Hell’s Bells” blaring from the stadium speakers, Lucroy said he had goosebumps and began to shake from the nerves.
He stayed relaxed behind the plate, though, and didn’t change a thing. Until the final out as he ran down toward first base.
“It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and cherish,” Lucroy said. “To be able to remember something like that, it’s a blessing for me to even be able to experience it.
“To see him achieve a goal like that is just something that every baseball player lives for. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. He totally deserves it. It’s an honor for me to even be here and just experience it.
“I was jacked up and excited. I told myself I was going to sacrifice my life to get an out for him if I needed to. I was going to go everything I could to get an out, no matter what I had to do, I was going to sacrifice everything for him.
“For somebody like that, to put in the kind of work he has, to play for as long as he has, and have the kind of character that he has, and for something like that to happen to him, and for me to even be there and be a part of it, it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“I was the first one [to the mound]. Usually I run down to first base and back up on ground balls, but I cut it off halfway. I was going to go get there first as fast as I could. I grabbed him and he grabbed me in a headlock and then everybody else hit and we went at it.
“It’s not very often you see grown men crying out there and there were grown men crying on the field. It was very emotional, I was trying to hold back as best I could. It’s just the payoff for so much hard work and just shows you that if you work hard and be a good person in this game there’s a lot of good things that happen to you.
“I’m totally lucky and blessed to even be here. To experience that, I don’t even deserve that. I don’t even deserve to be on the same field as that guy.”
Axford: “My heart was racing the entire time”
Of course, no story about Hoffman’s historic accomplishment would be complete without some mention of his replacement, rookie John Axford.
As has been the case all season, Axford had nothing but positive things to say about his mentor in the Brewers bullpen.
“He’s meant everything to my development because he carries about his business perfectly. He does everything right,” Axford said. “That’s been the best mentor for me. I just try to watch him and see what he does and see how I can build upon that. Every time I go out there I just try and do right by Trevor. I just want to do basically what Trevor would do and do things the right way.
“My heart was racing the entire time once the ‘Hell’s Bells’ started. My heart was going and it didn’t stop the entire time until we’re actually here right now and I’m still talking a mile a minute. I still feel the emotion and the rush from it. I think it was absolutely unbelievable.”
“It’s a cool kind of turn around. At the beginning of the year, I got my first save and Hoffy went in and got a hold for me. Now I got to go in and save that game for him, which is probably going to be the best hold of my entire life right there. I’m definitely glad I was in that game for sure.”
McGehee: “The ultimate professional”
Third baseman Casey McGehee admitted he was nervous when Hoffman entered the game. In fact, he was just hoping the ball wasn’t hit to him.
Once the final out had been recorded, however, McGehee was thrilled to be a part of such a big moment and to have played with someone who is the all-time leader
in any category.
“I think the reaction of all the guys kind of let everybody see how important to this team and to us he is,” McGehee said. “You couldn’t have asked for it to happen to a better guy. He’s the ultimate professional with everything he does.
“There’s not too many people you played with that you can say you played with the all-time best anything. When my career is over and I’m sitting around telling stories at a bar somewhere, that’s going to be one of the ones I tell.
“You can’t block that out, we all knew what was going on. Most of us, we’re huge fans of the game. Coming up, we remember watching Trevor Hoffman when he was in his prime and he was virtually unhittable. To be any small part of it, it’s pretty special.
“Some of these guys that got called up today, first day in the big leagues, not a bad way to start your big league career.”
Fielder: “Happy to be a part of it”
The final out was recorded by Prince Fielder, as veteran shortstop Craig Counsell fielded a ground ball and fired to Fielder at first.
As Fielder closed his first-baseman’s mitt on the ball, he joined McGehee and Lucroy as the first three players to embrace Hoffman on the mound.
“It was awesome,” Fielder said. “Coming into this year, you knew he was close to getting it. Everything he had to go through to get to it and he finally got it, I’m really happy for him. It’s really awesome.
“It [ranks] up there just because it’s your teammate and it’s a really special moment and something that nobody else has ever done. That’s what makes it even more special and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.
Narveson: “Pretty amazing”
But none of it would have been possible had it not been for an impressive seven-inning performance by lefty starter Chris Narveson. 
His brilliance on the mound was lost in the shuffle, but everything was set up by one of Narveson’s best starts of the 2010 season.
“That was pretty amazing,” Narveson said. “To be able to witness it and be the guy that started that game, was pretty special.”
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter
*
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 80 other followers