Hoffman not far from deal with Brewers
After posting 37 saves, closer shows little sign of slowing
ST. LOUIS -- Trevor Hoffman's season might have ended on a low note, but there were plenty of high ones in his first season with the Brewers. He said after Sunday's season finale that he's nearing a deal to return in 2010."I think we're pretty close," Hoffman said. "I think we're getting something done." Hoffman suffered his fourth blown save after walking three batters in the ninth inning on Sunday, but the Brewers rallied in the 10th for a 9-7 win and Hoffman was the pitcher of record. He finished with a 3-2 record but more importantly had 37 saves and a 1.83 ERA, his best mark in 11 years. He signed a $6 million, one-year contract with the Brewers in January after 16 seasons with the Padres. Hoffman, who turns 42 on Oct. 13 but is showing few signs of age, and the Brewers are likely working on another one-year contract that would include some kind of option for 2011. Before Sunday, neither Hoffman nor Milwaukee officials had revealed that discussions were underway. "Part of the way things do get done is to not talk about it too much," Hoffman said. "The fact that we're discussing things is good." Added assistant general manager Gord Ash: "I'm glad he feels that way." Hoffman was 37-for-40 in save chances and had walked only 11 batters all season before the ninth inning on Sunday, when Prince Fielder hit his second home run of the game for a 7-6 Brewers lead. Hoffman struck out Matt Holliday to open the frame but then walked the next three hitters in a row. Julio Lugo drove in the tying run when he hustled to beat the Brewers' double-play turn. Even with that run across, Hoffman finished with a sub-2.00 ERA for the first time since he notched a league-leading 53 saves and posted a 1.48 ERA for the World Series-bound Padres in 1998. He has a Major League-record 591 saves and would be aiming for No. 600 in a Brewers uniform if he returns to Milwaukee. "I always felt like the game will tell you where you're at, and I feel like I can compete at this level still," Hoffman said. "Statistically, I was just able to stay away from big innings. It's not that I pitched any differently than last year. You stay away from crooked numbers, and your statistics reflect that." Hoffman was an immediate hit in the Brewers' clubhouse and held a number of team meetings to honor teammates for individual milestones. He lauded Jason Kendall's 2,000th career hit, Prince Fielder's club-record-setting RBI and Ryan Braun's 200th hit. "That guy is unbelievable," said Braun. "Just an absolute class act. I really hope we get him back." Sunday night, Hoffman was to drive from Milwaukee to Minneapolis with fellow pitchers Todd Coffey, Chris Narveson and Chris Smith for Monday's showdown between the Packers and the Vikings. Hoffman was kind enough to score the tickets. "That's been in the works for a while," he said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.