Trevor Hoffman Available

According to various reports, closer Trevor Hoffman will not return to the San Diego Padres.

This of course is meaningful to Mets fans because the Flushing Fabulosos are in need of a closer. And why not the most prolific fireman in MLB history?

It could make sense from the standpoint that Hoffman would be relatively cheap and inexpensive — at least, compared to the jaw-dropping deals requested by Brian Fuentes and Francisco Rodriguez. But, there are caveats.

First of all, despite his 554 career saves, Hoffman’s most memorable moments are failure — specifically, in the 1998 World Series and the 2006 All-Star Game (he wasn’t so hot in the 2000 All-Star Game, either). Sure, it’s only two incidents, but they were the biggest games of his life. Not good signs for someone pitching under the microscope in New York City.

Secondly, Hoffman’s numbers regressed dramatically in 2008. His ERA bloated a full run over his career mark, and his eight homeruns allowed were the most since 2001. Though he blew only four saves, he seemed to struggle more than in previous years.

Interestingly, pitcher-friendly PetCo Park was not an advantage for Hoffman — he gave up 14 runs in the 29 innings he pitched there.

Is he worth considering? Why not? In my opinion, he’s better than Brian Fuentes, and will require much less in terms of years and dollars. An ideal stopgap, if he’s interested in pitching in New York.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. upson November 14, 2008 at 12:00 am
    Regarding Hoffman’s failures, it’s also worth mentioning that he blew the next-to-last regular season game of the 2007 season as well as the play-off game against Colorado two days later. Had he saved any of those two games, San Diego would have played the 2007 post-season, not the Rockies.