Right-hander Jeff Hoffman has signed a minor league contract containing multiple opt-outs with the Minnesota Twins, reports Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. Per FanSided’s Robert Murray, the opt-outs are for March 28, May 15, and June 15. The deal pays Hoffman $1.3MM when in the majors, and includes $50K incentives for pitching appearances in each of 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 games, meaning the deal’s potential value maxes out at $1.6MM total.
Hoffman, 30, was the 9th overall pick in the 2014 draft, selected by the Blue Jays. Following a swap to Colorado as part of the Troy Tulowitzki trade, Hoffman came up as a member of the Rockies in 2016, and spent parts of five seasons in a swing role for the club. Despite racking up 230 2/3 innings for the club across those five years, Hoffman never found his footing in Colorado, pitching to a 6.40 ERA (79 ERA+) with a 5.58 FIP.
Even in spite of those struggles, Hoffman’s top prospect pedigree, impressive stuff, and ability to start all intrigued the Reds enough to swap reliever Robert Stephenson for him ahead of the 2021 campaign. Out of Coors Field for the first time in his big league career, Hoffman posted back to back seasons with an above average ERA+ in 2021 and 2022, combining for a 4.28 ERA (108 ERA+) and 4.86 FIP in 117 2/3 innings of work. The 2022 season in particular was a strong one for Hoffman, who pitched largely out of the bullpen en route to a 3.83 ERA (117 ERA+) and 4.30 FIP in 44 2/3 innings.
That encouraging uptick in performance wasn’t enough for Hoffman to avoid getting non-tendered in November, however, and it’s easy to see why the Reds may have had concerns: Hoffman struggled with his control during his time in Cincinnati, walking a 12.8% of batters faced over the last two seasons, and his success last year may have been predicated, at least in part, on an unsustainable 7.5% of his fly balls leaving the yard despite an 8.7% barrel rate.
Now, Hoffman is set to compete for a role on Minnesota’s pitching staff. Such a role seems likely to come in the bullpen, given the club’s deep group of rotation options. Hoffman seems particularly likely to compete for a spot in the Twins bullpen with fellow new arrival Dennis Santana, who was claimed off waivers from the Braves earlier today. Both right-handers have big stuff and have to this point in their careers struggled with control, but has shown himself to be an interesting long-relief or swing option in the big leagues, as well.
In this hypothetical camp battle, Hoffman has prospect pedigree on his side, but Santana has the advantage of youth in addition to even more impressive stuff: his fastball ranked in the 91st percentile in 2022, per Statcast, while Hoffman’s ranked in just the 61st percentile (albeit with a more impressive 93rd percentile spin rate). Should Hoffman not make the Opening Day roster in Minnesota, the three opt-outs in his deal will provide him with ample opportunities to test the open market again, should he so choose.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Breaking news alert! Twins to sign right=handed reliever Hoffman!
Welcome Mr. Deeds to the MLBTR family. Things must be going well as I’ve seen a couple of new writers added to the site in the past few months (welcome Simon as well). Looking forward to your future work and chat sessions as well. Keep up the good work!
St. Paul Saints are on free TV.
The Twins might be too after Bally’s folded haha.
I wonder if any relationship to ex closer Trevor Hoffman
This guy was terrible glad he’s out of cincy.
The Twins evidently are banking on improving by signing as many rejects as possible from an inferior team.
Don’t be surprised if the Twins win the AL Central this year. If they stay mostly healthy this season, they have a real chance to do so. Their pitching staff looks solid with the addition of Pablo Lopez and getting Maeda back from TJS and if Buxton can stay healthy (big IF) then they should be able to score some runs too with Correa back in the fold. It should be a two man race between them and Cleveland, but I guess the White Sox could factor in too if all their players have good to great years for them. Maybe Minn can win the division and actually win at least one playoff game this year as well! That streak needs to end sometime.
I think the Twins have a good chance of winning the division. I would still bet on the Guardians, but wouldn’t be surprised if some of their break out players from last year regressed. I like what the twins did this off-season. In a relatively weak division, the winner could wind up just being a few games over 500. Even the White Sox have a decent chance, although I think not as likely as the Twins.
Cheap random arm to use in spring training while the rest of the regulars are at the world baseball classic. Not a bad move! But quit getting guys from Cincinnati! Lol we have like 5-6 now!
The Twins have a long history of signing pitchers who have major control issues and trying to fix them. It feels like the minors are getting awfully crowded at this point.
This is why you don’t hold on to prospects and make a run in this game. Blue Jays got to the playoffs and Bautista’s bat flip by trading him. If not for 1 game in the ALCS they would have gotten a title for him.
“… but has shown himself to be an interesting long-relief or swing option in the big leagues, as well.”
No. Bad writer. Don’t use commas when they’re not needed, or in this case before “as well,” just wrong.
.”.. and his success last year may have been predicated, at least in part, on an unsustainable 7.5% of his fly balls leaving the yard despite an 8.7% barrel rate.”
“At least in part” should also not have any commas around it. It shouldn’t be set off from the rest of the thought. It is PART of your point. Learn commas.
Also, way smoother to say may have been partially predicated on . . .