Trevor Hoffman Rumors

Quick Hits: Epstein, Ozzie, Beltran

Links for Tuesday, as the Red Sox and Braves try to fend off several wild card challengers…

  • Red Sox GM Theo Epstein failed to accumulate the necessary pitching depth, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Epstein has become a popular target this month, but the criticism holds more water for me if the author was pointing out the team's depth issues before the season or in July.  Morosi, to his credit, questioned Boston's rotation in April.
  • On a similar note, the John Lackey contract looks ugly right now.  But it wasn't regarded that way when Lackey signed in December of 2009.  In fact, ESPN's Jayson Stark did a poll of "20 wise baseball men" prior to the 2010 season, and Lackey's contract was voted the best signing of the offseason (right before Chone Figgins).  
  • White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen hopes to learn about his future before leaving for a trip to Spain in early October, he told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.  Guillen has a year left on his contract, so the White Sox don't necessarily have to follow that timeline.
  • Scott Boras will have lunch with the GiantsCarlos Beltran today to determine the right fielder's free agency goals, he told the Associated Press yesterday at the Moneyball premiere.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney tells stories of how Padres GM Randy Smith came to acquire Trevor Hoffman from the Marlins, and how the Yankees considered trading Mariano Rivera before they realized what they had.

Trevor Hoffman Retires

All-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman told MLB.com's Barry Bloom that he is retiring. Hoffman walks away with 601 career saves, a 2.87 ERA and 1133 strikeouts in 1089 1/3 innings for the Marlins, Padres and Brewers. After 18 seasons in the big leagues, he says he's ready to call it a career.

"It's time to retire. It's time to move on," Hoffman told Bloom. "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."

It seemed possible that the Padres or D'Backs could sign Hoffman to play and he did draw some interest this offseason, but the 43-year-old is moving to a different side of the game. He will return to the Padres in a front office role.

The seven time All-Star agreed to decline the Brewers' offer of arbitration after the season. If he had signed a major league deal with another team, Milwaukee would have obtained a supplementary first round pick in this year's draft.


Quick Hits: Pettitte, Figgins, Giants, Hoffman

On this date in 2002, the Diamondbacks signed Carlos Gonzalez as an amateur free agent. Two blockbuster trades and one breakout season later, CarGo has agreed to a seven-year extension with the Rockies. Here are today's links…

  • Andy Pettitte told Brian Costello of the New York Post at his home in Texas that he's just "chilling out, hanging" and still hasn't decided whether he'll play in 2011.
  • The Mariners have officially asked Chone Figgins to move back to third base, reports Kirby Arnold of the Daily Herald. Figgins has played more games at third than at any other position, but he played second base last year.
  • The Giants will likely rely on players already in the organization for infield depth now that Edgar Renteria has agreed to sign with the Reds, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
  • Trevor Hoffman is leaning toward retirement, according to Heyman (on Twitter). The reliever has drawn some interest this offseason, but he had hoped for the chance to close in 2011.
  • Michael Girsch will replace John Abbamondi as the Cardinals' assistant GM, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).


Rays Notes: Bullpen, First Base, DH

The Rays find themselves in a difficult position as the 2011 season approaches. Forced to cut payroll, they've lost Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, (presumably) Rafael Soriano, and most of their bullpen to free agency, and traded Jason Bartlett as he approaches his final arbitration year.

Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times looks at some of the issues left to be addressed as the Rays begin bargain shopping this offseason:


Poll: Trevor Hoffman’s Future

When you look through our list of available free agents, two players stand out as surefire future Hall of Famers: Manny Ramirez and Trevor Hoffman. Manny has been involved in his fair share of rumors this offseason, but all has been quite on the Hoffman front. The 43-year-old told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy that he still wants to pitch, but “the offers are sparse.” There was some thought that he could return to the Padres if they trade Heath Bell, but that obviously hasn’t happened yet. 

Hoffman, baseball’s all-time saves leader, lost his job as Milwaukee’s closer during the 2010 season, though he finished the year with a 2.67 ERA in his final 30.1 innings. His fastball velocity, never anything special to begin with, has been trending downward the last few years. If Hoffman can’t find a job to his liking before Spring Training, he could opt to retire with 601 career saves to his credit and over $80MM in career earnings (according to Baseball-Reference.com). 

Considering the multiyear, big dollar deals handed out to relievers this offseason, it’s not crazy to think that Hoffman could end up being a bargain on a low-salary, one-year contract. But will anyone give it to him?


Olney On Pettitte, Rendon, Blanton, Hoffman

C.C. Sabathia can opt out of his contract with the Yankees after next season, but ESPN.com’s Buster Olney points out that the team could be proactive and ensure that the lefty stays in the Bronx. They could offer to add a couple years to his current deal in exchange for Sabathia’s right to opt out. Here’s the latest on another Yankee lefty and a few more rumblings from around the league:

  • For the first time this winter, a Yankees person spoke to Olney optimistically about the chances that Andy Pettitte returns in 2011.
  • One talent evaluator says he might take Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon ahead of Bryce Harper if both players were in the same draft. The Pirates select first overall next year and may be tempted by Rendon, the consensus top player available.
  • Multiple GMs confirmed to Olney that the Phillies will have to eat some of Joe Blanton’s salary if they decide to move him. The right-hander will earn $17MM over the course of the next two seasons.
  • Trevor Hoffman is still telling teams that he wants to be a closer. The all-time saves leader is coming off of a rough season, but he pitched better in the second half.

Odds & Ends: Rasmus, Gilbert, Nishioka, Hoffman

MLBTR wishes all of its American readers a very happy Thanksgiving.  For those readers not from the USA…uh, happy Thursday!  Onto some news items:

  • "Three contending clubs" have a "persisting interest" in Colby Rasmus, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Strauss noted in a follow-up tweet that these are teams with a "new interest," so presumably that eliminates past suitors like the Braves, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and White Sox.  The Rasmus rumor mill seemed to have petered out, with the most recent report stating that there was a 99% chance that Rasmus would still be in St. Louis next season.
  • Dennis Gilbert will not try to buy the Houston Astros, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.  Gilbert led a group bidding for the Rangers earlier this year and has been rumored to be a potential future ownership candidate for the Dodgers.
  • The Twins are "very much in on" Tsuyoshi Nishioka, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman.  We heard last week that Minnesota had an interest in the Japanese infielder.
  • When Kevin Towers was general manager of the Padres, he planned to eventually bring Trevor Hoffman back to San Diego so the future Hall-of-Fame closer could retire as a Padre, tweets Fanhouse.com's Tom Krasovic.  Though Towers has moved on to Arizona, Krasovic says there's a chance Hoffman could still return to San Diego now that Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta are no longer with the organization.
  • Bill James talks to CBSSports.com's Evan Brunell about a variety of topics, including the new Mets front office, the Justin Upton trade rumors and what the Royals should do with Zack Greinke.
  • Joe Pawlikowski of the River Ave Blues blog wishes the Derek Jeter negotiations moved as smoothly as Mike Mussina's contract talks with the Yankees after the 2006 season.

Odds & Ends: Bigbie, Jeter, Hoffman, Tigers

Five years ago today, the Red Sox acquired Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett in the blockbuster trade that sent Hanley Ramirez to Florida. As I explained a year ago, that deal worked out pretty well for both clubs. Here are today's links…

  • Seven American League teams watched Larry Bigbie work out recently, MLBTR has learned. The teams have interest in the 33-year-old as a corner outfielder/DH.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com weighs in on the Derek Jeter contract talks and says the Yankees can't take the chance that Jeter walks out on them, even if it costs them an extra year or a few more million.
  • ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick compares the GM-manager relationships for Chicago's two teams.
  • Some baseball people people are convinced that Trevor Hoffman will return to San Diego, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. The expectation among GMs is that the Padres will trade Heath Bell by next year’s trade deadline.
  • The Tigers are still seen as serious bidders for outfielders, according to Olney.

National League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

11 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.


Hoffman Drawing Interest, Undecided On Future

Trevor Hoffman told MLB.com’s Barry Bloom that he wants to test free agency before deciding whether to play in 2011. If he sees an offer he likes, the 43-year-old could return for a 19th season. If not, the all-time saves leader says he’s prepared to retire.

Hoffman has drawn preliminary interest from a number of teams, according to his agent. Rick Thurman, who also represents free agents Brian Fuentes, Arthur Rhodes, Will Ohman, Octavio Dotel and Chan Ho Park, spoke with the D’Backs last Friday about potential fits for their bullpen.

That’s one possible destination for Hoffman, who can envision playing in Arizona under Kevin Towers, the D’Backs GM who ran the Padres when Hoffman pitched in San Diego. Towers repeated that re-building the bullpen is a priority for the D’Backs this offseason, but Hoffman isn't sure how much interest he'll draw. 

"I'm coming off a tough year,” Hoffman told MLB.com. “I don't know if people are going to be turned off by that or not. I hope the strong second half I had will compensate."

Hoffman won’t find many closing jobs available outside of Arizona, but there are many potential closers available, as MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes pointed out yesterday. Though he started slowly, Hoffman recovered to pitch considerably better after early May. ESPN.com’s Keith Law warned interested teams about the risks associated with Hoffman earlier today. However, Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that "you'd be nuts if you didn't at least consider somebody like Trevor Hoffman" (Twitter link).