Contract impasse forces Hoffman out of San Diego
Trevor Hoffman, the all-time leaders in saves and the face of the San Diego franchise, will not return to the Padres for 2009. The team has withdrawn its contract offer for 2009 to Hoffman, who is eligible for free agency this fall.Hoffman has played the last 16 seasons with the Padres, tenure which ranks behind only John Smoltz's 20 years with the Braves among active players. He also ranks first all-time among active pitchers in career save percentage, at .892.
Olney on HoffmanAfter 16 years, the relationship between Hoffman and the Padres ended via cell phone. Buster Olney has the details. Blog
Padres general manager Kevin Towers confirmed to The Associated Press in a text message that "our offer was withdrawn."It is now unclear whether Hoffman's relationship with the team will be repaired. This is much is for sure: He will never pitch for the Padres again. "That door is totally closed," said Rick Thurman, Hoffman's agent. It is closed from the Padres' side -- and from Hoffman's perspective, as well. "Trevor is upset with the way they've handled the situation," Thurman said.
The Padres are in the midst of making a dramatic cut to their payroll, at a time when owner John Moores is going through a difficult and costly divorce. The San Diego payroll was about $74 million in 2008, and if they complete a trade of pitcher Jake Peavy, as expected, and eventually swap outfielder Brian Giles, their payroll -- now reduced by the departure of Hoffman -- will be cut by about half.Hoffman made $7 million last season, and the Padres' initial offer to him for 2009 was for $4 million, plus some incentive bonuses. Some friends of Hoffman felt San Diego's offer was a polite way to nudge him out the door; sources familiar with the Padres' offer said it reflected, to a degree, Hoffman's diminished performance in 2008. The Padres indicated that their $4 million offer was the best that they could do, so Hoffman asked Thurman to arrange a meeting -- with Padres president Sandy Alderson, Towers and Moores. If Hoffman's time with the Padres was going to end, his feeling was that he wanted to hear it directly from the team's executives. But the Padres declined to arrange the meeting, and last Friday, the day after Thurman spoke publicly about Hoffman's desire for a face-to-face sit-down, Towers called Thurman and indicated to him that the Padres intended to withdraw the offer. The organization was upset, Towers told Thurman, that the details of Hoffman's offer had leaked out. Hoffman, in Puerto Rico, again told Thurman that he wanted to arrange a meeting, with Alderson and Towers. He wanted to be told by Alderson that the Padres were ending his time with the team.