What about Trevor Hoffman?

HOFFMAN: He could fill a void.

HOFFMAN: He could fill a void.

In a previous thread, Dave wondered about Trevor Hoffman. Well, what about him?

The San Diego Padres are rebuilding and withdrew a contract offer to Hoffman. The Mets, however, playing in New York, aren’t in a rebuilding mode despite being old in several areas.

They call it retooling.

So, should they “retool” with Hoffman if they aren’t able to land a marquee closer in the free-agent market? Hoffman is 41, and signing him does nothing about breaking away from Omar Minaya’s reputation for signing older players.

The Padres pulled off the table a one-year, $4 million deal, with a $4 million option for 2010. That’s not a lot of money. Hoffman converted 30 of 34 save opportunities, including 16 straight during one stretch.

Assuming Hoffman is willing to come to New York, and there’s been nothing written indicating he doesn’t want to, he would presumably fill the closer void until Bobby Parnell and Eddie Kunz are ready. That’s a plus.

Said agent Rick Thurman: “He’s a free agent. So many teams consider him to be a San Diego Padre. Not a lot of teams took him very seriously as a free agent. We’ll find out very shortly. A lot of teams need a closer. He’s the cream of the closers, and we’ll see what teams have interest in him.”

Last year’s numbers indicates he can still get the job done, but his age will be a concern, because you have to wonder when will the breakdown start?

Signing him does nothing about getting the Mets younger, but it does buy time for Parnell and Kunz, and gives them a mentor. It also addresses a need at a reasonable cost and enables them to spend most of their money on starting pitching.

While the first impression would be his age, remember the priority is winning and he’s a plus toward that goal. I know there’s not a groundswell for bringing in a 41-year-old closer, but if he makes them better it’s something they should consider.

24 thoughts on “What about Trevor Hoffman?

  1. Hoffmann won’t agree to be a setup man. He’s been one of the top closers for years.

    Pros: He’s got a wicked changeup that he’s very confident in. Throwing changeups isn’t as taxing on an arm. He converted his share of saves last year, showing he’s still got the goods.

    Cons: He’s 41. We don’t know his demeanor in big games. He blew the two biggest saves last season.

    That said, if he can be had for 4-5 mil plus an options that’s a real nice bridge to the future closers the Mets have in the minors.

    Considering K-Rod wants a mint, and Fuente’s is going to be looking at 10mil plus I think it’s a really viable option.

  2. Continue the Mets tradition of closers who couldn’t do it in a big spot: Franco, Benitez, Wagner, Hoffman? No thanks.

  3. I don’t know….you make a good point JD. Maybe Hoffman can be had cheap and be a tutor and bridge to Parnell & Kunz. I would not be against this signing if it freed up more cash for 2 premier starters.

  4. I think I like Trevor Hoffman best of the closers on the free agent market. Yes, he’s 41, but he’s probably the only guy out there who’s not looking for a big multi-year deal.

    I’d still rather make a trade, but I do not want four or five years of Brian Fuentes or K-Rod. The Wilpons are not the Steinbrenners… their is a ceiling to the Mets payroll, so there are only so many bad contracts they can afford to eat.

  5. (3) Dan: A year ago you would have had Lidge on your list (rightfully so) and yet he had a perfect season and wears the ring.
    One year: Do the kids you refer to Delcos be in the pen to learn from him? If Kunz and Parnell are in the bigs then you show logic. One year of Hoffman is better than 4 years of a second tier closer like Fuentes.

  6. doesnt have the same stuff he once did..no thanks

    do you guys believe a lineup of

    1. reyes
    2. castillo
    3. wright
    4. delgado
    5. beltran
    6. murphy/tatis
    7. church
    8. schneider/castro
    9. pitcher

    is strong enough going into this yr because if the mets solely pick up pitching thats what is going to look like.

  7. In a perfect world I would prefer to stay far, far away from the 41yo Hoffman and his Met-like track record of big game failure, but as others point out above his presence would be short term and cost effective, allowing other needs to be filled. Certainly something to consider.

    If I were more confident that the Mets had a ‘future closer’ near ready in their own system I’d be sold on Hoffman as a bridge, but right now he seems more like a bridge to nowhere. I know Kunz ML tenure was brief, but it was also uninspiring. Perhaps Parnell? Hopefully Holt?

  8. If the Mets believe that KRod is a) too expensive b) not as good as his rep and Fuentes is not bowling you over why not Hoffman for one or two years at a cheap price? This allows you to spend the remaining money on other needs – we have a few – and if the young turks are allowed in the pen I am sure they can learn something from a veteran in the art of pitching.

    I guess the question is do you want KRod at 5 years and 15 or 20 or whatever the rate is?

    I think it is a serious option and Hoffman is still effective. I haven’t seen him up close except for the one or two times we faced them recently. He seemed fine to me.

    Which one of you is in San Diego and can fill us in? I thought one of us was.

  9. Harry Chiti: You are probably right. My mind is too alcohol-soaked to remember what I thought about Lidge last year. But he is almost a decade younger than Hoffman, 2007 was an improvement over 2006 (which isn’t saying much), going from “Ten-Run” bandbox (the hill is stupid) to Shea while Hoffman has played in pitcher’s parks all his career (Petco and Bob Murphy’s Brother Stadium).
    Signing Hoffman to save money is the equivalent of me 25 years ago spending $3.99 for a used LP by someone I thought was okay instead of $8.99 for something I really wanted. I ended up with stuff I played maybe twice instead of 50 times. But hey, I saved $5. Not cost effective.
    Wilpon should sign K Rod. They have a new stadium/ATM/fan gouger. But they seem to want to hold the line on payroll.

  10. Agreed, it’s all about K-Rod. He’s the man, a young, elite closer. Hoffman is old and not elite. Fuentes is old and not elite. We need to get younger, younger, younger. Free agent signings are almost never good ideas with old people.

  11. Jim (bmore) (9):

    If the Mets have a starting pitching staff of Santana, Sabathia, Lowe, Maine, and Perez. And a closer of Hoffman or Fuentes or K-Rod, and a legit setup man, than I don’t give a rat’s a$$ if the lineup remains the same. It’s all about pitching and defense my friend…..pitching and defense!

    We all know this won’t happen, but one can dream during hot stove, can’t one?

  12. The addition of Hoffman to the free agent pool just makes Fuentes/K-Rod easier to attain.
    I’d pass on Hoffman but it makes it harder for K-Rod to ask for 5years.
    I think K-Rod to the Mets is going to happen because the market allows them to. No other big markets need a closer and the Angels have decided against a multi year offer for him.
    It’s awesome. 4 years at 52 million? Something like that. Maybe even 3 years with an easily attainable option for the 4th.
    At this point with how much is available and the lack of interest in K-Rod, it is possible.

  13. Dan(12) I wouldn’t be interested in Hoffman because of the $$. Only interest would be one year because I think Fuentes is mediocre, and if Mets don’t want to go after K-Rod then I’d use Hoffman to help ready a kid. My first choice is K-Rod since he is best out there. But that’s the only reason… I liked Delcos’ creativity on the closer.
    Chili(16): Agree completely with your point. Plus that lineup was tied for second in scoring in a pitcher friendly park so there was nothing wrong with it. The demands were astronomical because the bullpen never made you feel safe, The pressure builds up and it showed. Even before Wagner went down nobody had faith in him either after his first and only strong month. Add any bats you want but if you don’t fix the staff you’re not winning.
    Benny(17). I don’t think I agree with your logic. I think it will be like when the Mets got LoDuca. The FA catchers kept to their too high demands until the Mets traded for LoDuca. I think as long as a big market team is in the mix the dreams won’t die. If he goes cheap it will be somewhere else. But, I hope you are right on this.
    j_k(14).. never read too much into these stats. He may be doing bad or they may be forcing him to use new pitches regardless of results, or making him try to hit spots or something. Not being there we don’t know the story.

  14. Neither Kunz or certainly Parnell is a slam dunk as closer material. I don’t get the love affair with Parnell, he has been pretty awful in the minors. And the talent evaluators when he was drafted were torn between whether Kunz was a setup man or closer material. So I don’t want to go the “patchwork” route. Even though i’m still very wary of him, I’d go K-Rod first, Fuentes second, with Hoffman a distant 10th…

  15. Steve (20): The love affair with Parnell is he can throw the hell out of the ball. Guys who throw hard always attract attention and get a chance.-JD

  16. JD: Yeah, alot of pitchers throw hard, but shouldn’t they exhibit some talent at the minor league level first? I mean Parnell has not been a very good minor leaguer.

  17. Steve (22): It would be nice if that were true. But because he throws hard, coupled with the Mets’ needs, he could get a shot otherwise not deserved.-JD

  18. Hoffman took a hometown discount on his last contract and made 7 mil with SD

    THey offered him 4 mil and he turned it down as embarrassing.

    So why would Hoffman pack his whole family up and move across the country for less than 7 mil?
    I think he can get 7 plus with say Cleveland or St Louis or a few other of the teams looking for mid level bridge closers.

    He doesnt strike me as a NY guy – and I know someone who actually knows him and would agree.

    I just dont want to take a chance with a 40 plus year old pitcher who is known for coming up small in big situations and may need some time to adjust tot he bright lights of NYC after spending the majority of his career in the bright sunshine of SD with very little media scrutiny..