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January 8, 2009 at 11:25 am ET
Brewers Close to Closing Out their Closer Opening?: The Pros and Cons of Trevor Hoffman in Milwaukee

The all-time saves leader could be a Brewer by day's end. Do I even want him to be?Never has such an important Brewers possibility left me feeling so generally indifferent.

With Milwaukee battling the Dodgers for Hoffman’s services, the team is mere hours – away from either triumphantly landing the all-time saves leader, or tragically losing him. Meanwhile, I’m finding it difficult to feel strongly in the case of either outcome.

The Brewers went out and made a series of cost-effective, yet quality decisions this offseason to revamp the shaky, pricey, retired and/or disappointing pieces of its 2008 bullpen. I’d hate to see a snowy Wisconsin winter of wise moves, proper penny-pinching and calculated risks yellowed by overpaying for an elderly once-name for the sake of appeasing fans.

Then again, Hoffman could be great sign under the right circumstances.

As I try to come to terms with my own sentiment for the concept of Hoffmania at Miller Park this season, I’ll lay out the pros and cons to bringing him in.

The Cons:
• He’s 41 (that’s somewhere between 80-years-old and decomposed in pitcher years). He’d be the only active Brewer that was born before the Milwaukee Brewers even existed.
• With Hoffman being a Brewer, Tony Gwynn Jr. may never get a meaningful hit again. I had him penciled in for one more, maybe… at some point… in Triple-A.
• “Hell’s Bells” kind of sucks. It beats Francisco Cordero’s “Click, Click, Boom” and Eric Gagne’s… uh, was he even closer long enough to have a song? Still, that AC/DC song is almost as tired and dusty as, well, Trevor Hoffman. New uniform, new song, Trevor. I suggest Ginuwine’s 1996 boner ballad “Pony.”
• Career .121 hitter.
• How honored Brewer fans will be that Hoffman, at the twilight (or even the end) of a once prominent career, had two teams to choose from and followed the money.
• Such a signing would directly go against THIS.
• The Brewers will more than likely overpay to get him.
• PETCO Park is massive and he is especially dominant there. And with the Padres as terrible as they presently are, Hoffman probably won’t be necessary in Milwaukee’s games there.
• In his confused elderly state, Hoffman might assume Milwaukee desires his newfound meaning of saves instead – running to the mound without falling asleep and/or crapping his pants.
• 554 saves is a lot and all, but isn’t the whole “closer” thing kind of overrated? I mean, you get between one and three outs at the end of the game. Sweet.

The Pros:
• He has more saves than anyone in MLB history and, unlike the majority of Milwaukee’s pen, he knows the drill.
• With each save tallied by Hoffman, a new MLB record is established. How cool would it be to be party to a big league record in almost every close Brewers win?
• Even in an “off” year, Trevor notched 30 saves (for an awful team), a 3.77 ERA and clean bill of health.
• As bafflingly old as he may be, he’s a change-up pitcher who doesn’t strain his arm.
• Future Hall of Fame member. Imagine if he went into the Hall as a Brewer in spite of the Padres, who reportedly scorned him. Not likely, but it’s usually a good thing to have a future HOFer who can still contribute on your roster.
• Maybe with the afore-mentioned realization of Tony Gwynn Jr. no longer being able to hit against Hoffman. Milwaukee will finally trade, cut or destroy him. There will never be a spot for a poor man’s Nyjer Morgan on Milwaukee’s 25-man roster.
• If Milwaukee overspends and Hoffman fails, casual fans would almost have no choice but to look at the Eric Gagne signing as slightly less of a mistake through the similarities in circumstance.
• Even if overpaid to get, Trevor Hoffman would still be Milwaukee’s best option to close out games. He’d be a lynchpin in an otherwise young bullpen, and – finally – a name Brewer fans can place their trust in to end games favorably.

All in all, this writer would welcome Trevor Hoffman aboard with open arms. We’ll soon see whether that happens, and how expensive such a move would be. But if it’s $8M or more with a player option for 2010, forget all the pros.

Do others favor this signing?

Update: It’s official. Hoffman will be a Brewer. The deal is reportedly a one-year, $6M deal with up to $1.5M in incentives and a club option for 2010. Not the most affordable signing, but not terrible either.

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2 Responses to “Brewers Close to Closing Out their Closer Opening?: The Pros and Cons of Trevor Hoffman in Milwaukee”
  1. Alan says:

    One year for six million makes me pretty darn happy. I was worried that this was going to turn into a multi-year eight figure deal.

  2. tyler says:

    It’s now being reported that there is no option for 2010. Sorry for any confusion.

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