Hoffman, Brewers agree to deal
MLB's all-time saves leader to ink one-year contract
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have agreed to terms with free-agent closer Trevor Hoffman, acquiring the former Padres right-hander who's the all-time leader with 554 saves, his agent, Rick Thurman told MLB.com in a text message on Thursday morning.
The Brewers were originally expected to make a formal announcement about the one-year contract at midday, but instead will wait until Hoffman takes a physical, a club official said. It was not immediately clear when Hoffman, who recently returned to California after a Hawaiian vacation, will undergo the physical, although he could do it in Los Angeles at the office of Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' team physician, Thurman said. In any event, the deal might not become official until next week.Hoffman will earn a $6 million base salary in 2009 with up to $1.5 million in incentives based on games finished, beginning with No. 38 and ending with 52, MLB.com has learned. There is no option for a second year. Hoffman earned $7.5 million for the Padres this past season, the last year of his three-year, $21 million contract. Thurman said Hoffman is bullish about playing for the Brewers. "Trevor's excited about a new beginning in Milwaukee," he said. "The Brewers were aggressive in pursuing him and that ultimately made a big difference in his decision."
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would not talk about details of the negotiations during his drive to the office Thursday morning, but said he felt good about his team's chances of signing Hoffman, who parted ways with the Padres in November after nearly 16 seasons when the club took a $4 million, one-year offer off the table."It's out of my hands," Melvin said. "I'm not the one to say a deal is done. The agent is." According to Thurman, both the Brewers and Dodgers had offered Hoffman a one-year contract with an option for 2010. Melvin wouldn't say whether the Brewers had to guarantee the second year of the deal to pry Hoffman, a native of Southern California, away from the West Coast.
Melvin skipped a Milwaukee Bucks game on Wednesday night to continue negotiations with Thurman, who was in Florida. Hoffman, meanwhile, was back in the San Diego area after returning from a Hawaiian vacation.Melvin expected to hear back from Thurman and Hoffman on Thursday. "He has to talk to Trevor and get the final say from the player," Melvin said. "Sometimes the player has to talk with his family to make sure he is doing the right thing. If [Hoffman] decides to come here, that's a big move for him." On Wednesday, it was revealed that Hoffman was weighing similar offers from the Brewers and the Dodgers. Both deals were higher than the $4 million the Padres offered in early November. The Dodgers had also offered a contract to Guillermo Mota, who played for the club from 2002 to mid-2004. In addition, Los Angeles had shown interest in Dennys Reyes and Juan Cruz. On Tuesday, Hoffman's agent, Rick Thurman, said in a telephone interview that the Dodgers and Brewers were the leaders in the race to sign Hoffman. "We're talking parameters of a deal with both teams," he said. "In the next 24-to-48 hours I think we'll have something done. If we don't have a deal done we'll have a pretty solid idea of where he's going. But I think we'll have a deal done." Hoffman has been in the market since early November when the Padres took that one-year deal worth $4 million guaranteed with an option for the same money off the table, ending his 16-year tenure in San Diego. Hoffman may have been eyeing one last run at the Padres before deciding on the Brewers, but by late afternoon San Diego majority owner John Moores said that wasn't going to happen. "We're not getting into a bidding war with anybody over Trevor," Moores said. "It'll be strange to see him in another uniform, especially for me. But it's rare that any player spends his whole career with one organization anymore. I hope he has a great year."