Results tagged ‘ Trevor Hoffman ’

Hoffman, Brewers strike a deal

trevor-hoffman-by-ap-223x300.jpgThe Brewers hit the offseason ground running, agreeing on a new deal with would-be free agent closer Trevor Hoffman less than 24 hours after their 2009 finale.

The Brewers and Hoffman reached terms Monday on a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2011 that means that Hoffman, Major League Baseball’s all-time leader with 591 saves, will seek No. 600 as a Brewer. 

It also means that general manager Doug Melvin can move on to other pressing matters, like rebuilding a starting rotation that ranked worst in the National League with a 5.37 ERA during the Brewers’ 80-82 season. 

Melvin did not attend Sunday’s season finale in St. Louis, where Hoffman suffered his fourth blown save of a 37-save season but picked up the win when the Brewers rallied in the 10th inning. Melvin said he had to leave for an “assignment” related to the team’s pitching, but assistant GM Gord Ash said Monday that the trip was not related to Hoffman. 

Josh Goldberg, a spokesperson for the Beverly Hills Sports Council, said Hoffman’s agent, Rick Thurman, would not have any comment. 

Melvin and Ash will meet reporters on Wednesday afternoon to wrap-up the season. The Brewers will probably wait for that event to announce Hoffman’s new deal.
 
Hoffman told MLB.com and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel after Sunday’s game that he was deep into negotiations with the team about a return. He will earn $8 million in 2010 and the 2011 option could pay up to $8.5 million if Hoffman hits incentives for games finished. The buyout is $500,000 but would increase to $1 million if Hoffman finishes 40 games, a milestone he has surpassed in every season since his injury-shortened 2003.  

Back in January, Melvin wooed Hoffman away from his home in San Diego with a one-year, $6 million contract that formally ended Hoffman’s 16-year association with the Padres. Despite being 41 years old and missing most of April with an oblique strain, Hoffman still managed to finish 2009 ranked fifth in the National League with 37 saves, and his 1.83 ERA was second-best in the league among pitchers who worked at least 50 innings. 

It was Hoffman’s lowest ERA since 1998, when he led the NL with 53 saves and posted a 1.48 ERA, good for second place in NL Cy Young Award balloting. 

“Looking from the outside, you would have concerns about age. Being around him for a year, that’s a non-factor,” Ash said Monday while stopping just short of confirming that the sides had a deal.

How long might he be able to pitch?

“As long as he wants to,” Ash said.

Asked after the Brewers’ final home game to assess his first season in Milwaukee, Hoffman joked, “I feel really old. We’ve got a lot of young guys in here that are energizing to be around. It’s been fun to be part of a new organization. I have a lot of respect for what they’re doing and I’d love to come back.” 

Hoffman’s cell phone was not accepting messages on Monday. He was driving along with three other Brewers pitchers from Milwaukee to Minneapolis for the Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and Vikings. 

Hoffman will turn 42 on Oct. 13.  Ash believes he has been effective for this long because Hoffman has thrown so many change-ups in his career, a pitch that puts less stress on the arm than, say, a slider, and because of Hoffman’s incredibly extensive training program. Fellow relievers were wowed by the steps Hoffman took to prepare to pitch.

“[My stuff] really hasn’t changed in 10 years,” Hoffman said. “For me, it’s about location, location, location and executing pitches. I give a lot of credit to ‘Kid’ and Mikey [Brewers catchers Jason Kendall and Mike Rivera] for their video work. When you develop that trust in what is being put down by your catcher, you throw with a lot of conviction.” 

Does he feel good enough to keep pitching into his mid-40s? 

“I just go one day at a time,” Hoffman said. “I was fortunate to catch some breaks when I did and was able to weather some ‘activity’ with some low pitch counts. I like it here [in Milwaukee] and I would like to be back with these guys.”

Now he will be.

Hoffman expects to return to Brewers

Trevor Hoffman’s season ended on a low note, but there were plenty of high ones in his first season with the Brewers. He said after Sunday’s season finale that he’s close to signing a deal to return in 2010.

“I think we’re pretty close,” Hoffman said. “I think we’re getting something done.”

Hoffman suffered his fourth blown save after walking three batters in the ninth inning on Sunday, but the Brewers rallied in the 10th for a 9-7 win and Hoffman was the pitcher of record. He finished with a 3-2 record but more importantly had 37 saves and a 1.83 ERA, his best mark in 11 years.

He signed a one-year contract with the Brewers in January after 16 seasons with the Padres. He’s likely working on another one-year contract that would include some kind of option for 2011. Hoffman turns 42 on Oct. 13 but is showing few signs of age.

Report says Giants claimed Hoffman

The San Francisco Giants were the mystery team that claimed Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman off waivers in recent days, according to ESPN.com, perhaps a move to block a fellow contender with bullpen needs from adding baseball’s all-time saves leader via a trade.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has been uncharacteristically unavailable during the the past 24 hours, but said earlier in the week that he was unlikely to make a deal ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline for teams to acquire players and have them available for postseason rosters.

Still, the Brewers reportedly placed six veterans on waivers this week, a necessary step before making trades after the July 31 nonwaiver deadline. According to a FOXSports.com report, four of them cleared: Mike Cameron, Craig Counsell, Jason Kendall and Braden Looper. Hoffman appears to have been claimed, but the report made no mention of second baseman Felipe Lopez, another pending free agent who was exposed to waivers.

Lopez projects as a Type B free agent, meaning he would net the Brewers a compensatory pick in next year’s Draft if the team offers him arbitration but he declines and signs elsewhere. Hoffman projects as a Type A, so he could reap a pair of high picks. He turns 42 on Oct. 13.

Hoffman responds to waiver rumors

Trevor Hoffman would prefer to remain a Brewer, but conceded that Thursday that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could be traded to a contender before the end of the month.

“I don’t know,” Hoffman said. “We’re 12 out.”

As in, the Brewers remained 12 games behind division-leading St. Louis in the National League Central after getting swept by the Reds at Miller Park this week. Cincinnati finished its three-game sweep with an 8-5 win over the Brewers on Thursday, just as FOXSports.com reported that a rival club had claimed Hoffman off the waiver wire.

If true, the Brewers and the mystery team would have 48 hours to work out a trade. If the sides cannot strike an agreement, the Brewers would pull Hoffman back.

Hoffman said he had no idea whether the report was true, and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who is technically barred from discussing waivers, did not return a pair of phone calls on Thursday.

“I’m starting to learn that this is part of it,” said Hoffman, who mostly avoided late-season waiver rumors during his 16-year tenure with the Padres. Players with at least 10 years of service time including five years with their current team have the right to refuse trades, and it was well understood that Hoffman had no desire to leave San Diego.

Now he’s on a one-year contract with the Brewers and faces the prospect of re-entering free agency at season’s end. As the FOXSports.com report suggested, a deal seems unlikely. Hoffman projects as a “Type A” free agent in the mysterious Elias rankings. That means that if the Brewers keep him for the rest of this year, offer him salary arbitration over the winter and then let him sign elsewhere, they would reap two compensatory picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft before the end of the second round.

Since the claiming club is not likely to offer much in return for five weeks of Hoffman’s services, Melvin could be more inclined to hold out for the Draft picks.

Another hurdle, according to various recent reports that have speculated about Hoffman’s availability, could be baseball’s all-time saves leader’s desire to be a closer. Asked for his stance on Thursday, Hoffman said, “I’m not going to discuss any of that stuff.”

Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth inning in Wednesday’s extra-innings loss to the Reds and has been excellent in his first season away from San Diego in 16 years, posting a 1.85 ERA and 27 saves in 29 chances this year. But he has been gathering dust in the bullpen as the Brewers have fallen out of the pennant race, with only four save opportunities this month and only four appearances over the past two weeks.

“I’m about settling in,” Hoffman said. “I’ve been fortunate to have that comfort level here in Milwaukee from Day 1. Our focus is to try and climb back in this thing. I did say that we’re 12 out, but we have nine [games] left with St. Louis and Chicago is in the mix. We just got our starting rotation back. Hopefully, we can make a run. I’m a consummate optimist, and this is my team.”

Earlier this week, FOXSports.com reported that the Brewers had placed at least six players on waivers, a necessary step before making trades after July 31. Those players, according to the report, were Mike Cameron, Craig Counsell, Hoffman, Jason Kendall, Braden Looper and Felipe Lopez.

Cameron, Kendall, Looper and Lopez all project as “Type B” free agents who would net one compensatory Draft pick. Looper’s contract includes a mutual option for 2010 that the Brewers are likely to exercise. Counsell does not qualify for Draft compensation should he sign elsewhere next year. 

Earlier this week, Melvin expressed an unwillingness to trade away his veterans, even the Brewers have remained 10-12 games behind the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central.

“I can’t imagine that a team would give up a good player for one month, unless there is a key injury,” Melvin said Tuesday. “I don’t anticipate anything.”

Hoffman: All-Star invite "a big surprise"

Make it an All-Star trio for the Brewers. Trevor Hoffman was added to the National League roster on Sunday in place of injured Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton.

“It was a big surprise,” Hoffman said. “It’s nice to come in and have that kind of news get dropped on you. It’s a big honor to be able to represent not only the Brewers, but the Brewer bullpen and what they’ve accomplished in the first half. It’s indicative of putting a guy like myself in position to go.”

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin received a call early Sunday morning from Major League Baseball senior vice president Katy Feeney, asking if Hoffman would consider an invitation. Melvin passed the word to Hoffman via Brewers manager Ken Macha. 

For Hoffman, it was a no-brainer.

“I definitely welcome the opportunity,” Hoffman said. “My kids are really excited, too. They’ve gotten older and they’ve been to quite a few, but they’re starting to understand the dynamics that are a part of it and are really excited for Prince and the Home Run Derby.

“I’m excited for them to have the opportunity to go. They’re at that good age. I think any 11 or 12 year old would love to go to an All-Star Game in that capacity. It was a pretty easy sell.”

Trevor and Tracy Hoffman’s three sons are 10, 11 and 12.

With Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Hoffman, the Brewers will send at least three players to the All-Star Game for the fourth straight season.

Early All-Star thoughts…

My two cents on Selection Sunday:

1.  Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are certainly deserving. Braun was the top vote-getter among National League outfielders for the second straight year, and Fielder was one of NL manager Charlie Manuel’s picks. That duo had 133 RBIs entering Sunday’s games, tops of any teammates in Major League Baseball.

2.  Fielder is also one of four first basemen on the NL squad (Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Howard are the others) so it will be interesting to see how/if Manuel is able to get all of those guys into the game. Fielder is second in the Majors in RBIs, but might he be the low man on this impressive totem pole? Here’s why I suggest that:

  • Pujols won the fan vote and will start in front of his hometown fans in St. Louis.
  • Gonzalez made the cut via the player ballot, and that carries some weight.
  • Howard, of course, is a Phillie, and Manuel is his manager.

3.  It has been pretty clear for weeks that Braun would make the cut, so I asked him whether he would participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby for the second consecutive year. Remember that Braun developed some back problems last August that have been a bother from time to time this year.

“I would probably wait to see if I was even invited before I thought about it,” Braun said the other day. “I would want to see where I’m at, physically, before I committed. Having that extra day of rest would obviously be nice.

“But it was a lot of fun last year, I really enjoyed it. If I’m fortunate enough to be invited, I’ll cross that bridge then.”

Braun said he would consult with Brewers head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger before making his decision. He declined the notion that participating in last year’s Derby — he reached the semifinals — had anything to do with his physical woes later in the year.

Fielder took part in the event in 2007, and he finished third this year in a poll sponsored by State Farm Insurance that allowed fans to pick who they would like to see participate in the Derby. Pujols finished first, followed by Howard and then Fielder.

4.  Trevor Hoffman and Yovani Gallardo are having All-Star-type seasons, but missed the cut. Gallardo has the sixth-best ERA among qualifying NL pitchers (2.75) and is tied for fifth in the league with 114 strikeouts. Hoffman, a six-time All-Star, didn’t allow a run until his 18th Brewers appearance and is tied for eighth in the NL with 18 saves despite missing most of April with a rib-cage injury.

I asked Hoffman last week for his favorite All-Star memory.

“Probably when they named the All-Century team [in Boston in 1999],” he said. “I had a chance to go to Fenway Park when I was in high school and Glenn [his brother] was with the Red Sox and take ground balls and batting practice there. To me, that was kind of cool to go back there.”

Hoffman would have appreciated the opportunity to appear in a seventh Midsummer Classic.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized in that regard,” he said.   

Hoffman on Rivera's 500th save

Mariano Rivera joined Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman in the 500-save club last night. Hoffman offered his congratulations.

“He’s had a great body of work,” Hoffman said. “It’s been a strong career from day one for him and I’m sure he’s very proud of his accomplishments.”

Hoffman, like Rivera, has always relied on one exceptional pitch — his a changeup, rather than a cut fastball. And Hoffman, like Rivera, has hardly diminished with age.

Playing in the National League his entire career, Hoffman only saw Rivera up close during All-Star Games and the 1998 World Series, in which Rivera saved three games. But despite saving his 500th game two years ago, Hoffman remains as impressed as anyone in baseball.

“With us being in National League [and Rivera in the] American League, two separate coasts, there’s a mutual admiration from afar, but I haven’t had the opportunities really to touch base with him like we would if we were in the same division,” Hoffman said. “I’ve had conversations with him when we’ve gone through New York and the last trip there I had a nice chat with him and just congratulated him on his career, and vice versa. It’s a mutual respect.

Rivera has pitched 12 times against the Brewers, with three saves, one blown save, a 3.60 ERA and a .196 average against.

Hoffman said he would wait a few days before calling Rivera to offer his congratulations.

“I’m a fan of the game, and I’m in awe of what he’s been able to do,” Hoffman said.
 

Melvin: Talk of imminent deal 'absolutely false'

I bit the bullet this afternoon and asked Doug Melvin about the trade rumors that have swirled on the Internet over the past 36 hours about an imminent trade for a front-line pitcher.

His two-word response: “Absolutely false.”

Melvin did say that he has talked to some fellow GMs lately, but wouldn’t name them and also wouldn’t say whether he was talking about pitchers or position players. He has spoken in recent weeks with Boston’s Theo Epstein, but only because Epstein called to apologize for the rumor in a Boston newspaper that the Red Sox were trying to trade for Corey Hart. That one never had any truth to it, Melvin said.

He hasn’t talked to Cleveland’s Mark Shapiro “in a while,” so that would seem to eliminate the Indians’ Cliff Lee for the moment.

Melvin, who was not aware of the speculation of the past two days until I asked him about it, said it’s too early to talk about making significant trades.

“There’s not one team that’s saying, ‘I’m ready to trade my players,’” Melvin said, pointing to the Mariners, with a 30-30 record entering play Friday, as an example. If Seattle’s Zack Zduriencik traded away a big-name player, “their fans would go wild,” Melvin said. So there goes Erik Bedard, at least for now.

On the Jake Peavy front, I asked Trevor Hoffman if he had spoken to his old San Diego teammate lately, and Hoffman said no. Hoffman would surely be a huge part of any Brewers effort to acquire the right-hander. Ryan Braun, who played with Peavy in the World Baseball Classic, hasn’t spoken to Peavy, either.  

Any of you who have met Melvin at public events know how engaging he is, how much he likes to talk about baseball and how much he appreciates the fan interest and support that have fueled the Brewers’ resurgence. And those you from from the fan sites who have swapped e-mails with me know (I hope) that I have a great deal of respect for the passion exhibited by you and your readers.

But in this instance, it looks like we have more smoke than fire. And Melvin’s patience for trade rumors and those pesky reporters who ask him about them is growing a bit thin.

“I’m open to talking to you guys in April and May, but I’m not going to respond to every rumor after June 1,” he said.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to cover this game and then stay here until 4 a.m. covering a blockbuster trade…

The Crew's ultimate warrior finds his tune

All that was missing from Todd Coffey’s entrance was the right musical accompaniment. It appears he’s found it.
Coffey Warrior copy.jpg
Some fans of baseball and professional wrestling have noticed that Coffey made a pair of entrances this week to the same heavy metal riff that used to accompany the Ultimate Warrior, who was known for his all-out race from the smoke-filled arena tunnel to the ring. Coffey doesn’t have any dry ice out in the bullpen, but he makes a similar entrance, sprinting all-out from the bullpen to the mound.

A blogger wisely suggested the connection a month ago, but the idea came from Brewers PR director and walking encyclopedia of pro wrestling Mike Vassallo. Vassallo suggested the song to Coffey and loaded it onto his iPod. 

“I took it home and gave it a listen and it was like, ‘Yeah, this fits,’” Coffey said. “There’s no words and it’s hard, to the point. I said, “This is me. It’s perfect.’”

Vassallo, by the way, also suggested Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” for Jorge Julio. But he can’t take credit for Trevor Hoffman’s use of AC/DC’s “Hells Bells,” though that one also came from a front office. As the story goes, a Padres official, inspired by the film “Major League,” suggested that Hoffman adpot a signature song. After “Hells Bells” debuted on July 25, 1998, it stuck.

Gwynn's former teammates on trade

Some comments from Tony Gwynn Jr.’s former Brewers teammates on today’s trade:

“I think if there’s any place he can go and be successful, he found it
[in San Diego],” closer Trevor Hoffman said. “He’ll be admired, and it’s almost like
he’s one of their own because he grew up in their clubhouse.”

Hoffman last spoke to Gwynn in April during a rehabilitation assignment with Nashville. That was after Gwynn expressed his disappointment about being removed from the 40-man roster.

“To Anthony’s credit, the four days I was with him in Memphis he was
very determined to do things right and prove Milwaukee wrong, prove to
other teams that he belonged in the big leagues,” Hoffman said. “I
admired the way he was going about it.”

Mat Gamel: “You never saw signs of disappointment,” said Gamel, who was Gwynn’s Triple-A teammate until a promotion to Milwaukee last week. “He was a positive guy, seemed to always find the best in any situation. I had a lot of long talks with Tony about everything, life in general and the game of baseball. [On the field], he was really the pace-setter for us.” 

Prince Fielder: “I’m happy for him,” said Fielder, Gwynn’s closest Brewers teammate. “I bet he’s happy. I thought he played well at [Nashville] and really stayed focused. It’s a credit to him, a show of how professional he is.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 81 other followers