Earlier in the week, we heard that if Trevor Hoffman plays in 2011, he'd likely look for a situation where he has a chance to close, meaning his time in Milwaukee could be nearing an end. Hoffman said as much to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today, when asked about the possibility of the Brewers retaining him for next season.
"[John Axford] is their future," said Hoffman. "That’s just the way it is. It’s nothing bad, no ill feelings or anything. They have their future and it’s time for me to move on if I’m going to continue doing this at a certain capacity. If I’m going to continue playing, I don’t want to continue in this capacity. I’d like to see what’s out there, if there’s option to close somewhere."
The one-year contract that the 42-year-old signed with Milwaukee last October includes a $7MM mutual option ($750K buyout) for 2011. Even Hoffman knows that the Brewers won't exercise the option though, asking rhetorically: "Why would they pay $7 million for me to pitch in this role?"
After an extremely successful first year with the Brewers in 2009 (1.83 ERA, 37 saves), Hoffman struggled this season, losing the closer's job to Axford and recording a 5.89 ERA. However, most of the right-hander's disastrous outings came in the season's first two months; since June 3rd, he has posted a 2.67 ERA in 32 appearances. Those numbers could be enough for a team to take a flier on Hoffman next year, but even if he receives offers, the all-time saves leader doesn't know whether he'll be back.
"I might not get to that stage (of fielding offers)," Hoffman said. "I might make my decision before I ever get to that. It would have to be a fit like this. I don’t know how many fits are out there like this."