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Hoffman to re-sign with Padres for two-year deal

DALLAS -- Trevor Hoffman will stay with the San Diego Padres, agreeing Wednesday to a $13.5 million, two-year contract
that includes a club option for 2008.

Hoffman's agents also had been negotiating with the Cleveland Indians at the winter meetings before agreeing to stay with the
Padres.

"I'm just really happy that I'm not having to traipse my family
across the country, although it was a tremendous opportunity with
the Cleveland Indians," Hoffman said. "In particular, the class
that they showed throughout the process and the respect that they
showed went above and beyond and I truly appreciate it. But it came
down to me making a decision for my family and not disrupting what
we have going on."

San Diego general manager Kevin Towers said the club improved
its offer in the second year and made the achievements that would
guarantee the option year a little easier to reach.

"To get this done went a little closer than I had hoped,"
manager Bruce Bochy said. "This is huge for us. I know, for me,
there's certainly going to be a sense of comfort in that ninth
inning now that we have Trevor back."

Hoffman saved 43 games last season, going 1-6 with a 2.97 ERA.
He is second on the career saves list with 436 -- all but two with
the Padres.

"We're hopeful that in 2006 he will be the all-time saves
leader. It's certainly within his grasp," Towers said. "I won't
be surprised if he surpasses the 500 mark and goes to Cooperstown
as one of the few relievers there."

Hoffman's contract includes a 2008 option at $5.5 million that
would become guaranteed if he finishes 90 games over the next two
years or 45 in one of them, Towers said.

"This is probably the most significant signing that I've had,"
the GM said. "This guy is the face of our organization. I can't
put into words what he means to our community."

Bochy sounded relieved.

"I know how fortunate I have been to have a closer down there
like Trevor," he said. "I couldn't imagine calling down to the
bullpen and not having Trevor. He's a special guy."

Hoffman's deal cleared the way for the Padres to acquire catcher Doug Mirabelli from Boston for second baseman Mark Loretta.
Mirabelli, who has been backing up Jason Varitek, will compete for
the starting job with Miguel Olivo.

"We could be using both of them," Bochy said.

After Hoffman decided to stay in San Diego, the Indians re-signed Bob Wickman, who became a free agent after the season, to be the team's closer again.

"While we are disappointed to have missed out on the
opportunity to make Trevor Hoffman a Cleveland Indian, we
understand and appreciate the thought behind his decision to stay
in San Diego," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said. "We,
too, appreciate it when our players make those decisions for those
same reasons. At this point we will pursue other alternatives that
we have always kept in consideration during this offseason."