I hope (and predicted) The Padres will find a way to keep Trevor Hoffman in San Diego for the rest of his career, so lets take a look at what’s going on in the closer market that might affect this goal.
edit: Teams have stated a lack of interest in our guy, I’ll try to keep this post updated. Though most of the news can be found amid the fury of activity at mlbtraderumors.
First, the good news
- The Mets sign Francisco Rodriguez for 3 years and $37 million. K-Rod is younger and arguably better than Francisco Cordero, yet Cordero signed a deal for 4 years and $46 million last offseason. Looks like the market for closers is a bit down this year.
- The Indians ink former Cub Kerry Wood for about 2 years and $20 million, though the deal is not yet official. This probably takes the Indians, whom I expected to be Hoffman’s most likely suitor, out of the running.
Not out of the woods (no pun intended) yet
The tag of “closer” is a golden ticket in Major League Baseball. It doesn’t take much skill relative to one’s peers to earn the “closer” label, but once you do all kinds of doors open. Sucks to be JJ Putz, because the Mets effectively ripped the golden ticket from his hands in the trade from Seattle. Putz will pitch the 8th inning in Citi Field, and I hope for his sake he buys the right choclate bar when his contract is up.
Of course it also sucks for us, since the Putz trade takes one more closer off the board without eliminating a team from the market.
That leaves the Tigers, Brewers, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Mariners could still be kicking tires on closers, with Brian Fuentes, if he’s up your alley Eric Gagne, and Trevor Hoffman available.
I’m no expert on each financial and roster situations, but here’s what I do know.
- Detroit is broke. I don’t know what they’re doing linked to free agents, let alone free agent closers, which make the least sense for a cash strapped team to sign. update 12/11: They’re not interested.
- Milwaukee has the money after their half-assed attempt to re-sign CC obviously failed. Hoffman’s 2007 performance on their turf may still be fresh in peoples minds, who knows. Also, they probably fancy themselves contenders, and I have a hard time seeing Hoffman get a 40 hour a week closer job with a contender. update 12/11: Brewers are out of it.
- Los Angeles has Jonathan Broxton, but they might offer Trevor barrels of money so they both can laugh in our faces. I wouldn’t put a free agent signing out of spite past the Dodgers. And no, I don’t know if I’m kidding here or not.
- St. Louis has the money, but are contenders. Tony La Russa seems to have a man crush on Fuentes, so lets consider this a match made in heaven and move on. update 12/11: Cardinals are indeed only about the Fuentes.
- Seattle is an interesting situation. They’re rebuilding, which doesn’t often go along with signing free agent closers. They also have the budget to do all sorts of things, usually stupid. They may have the same reasons for going after Hoffman as we do: giving the fans anything to cheer for.
So that’s how I see it. I still think the odds of seeing Trevor in a Padre uniform again are a lot better than his 99 to 1.
Relaying an entire major league market in 500 words is quite a challenge, so If I left something out please holla in the comments.