Sources: Dodgers make Hoffman offer

Updated: January 7, 2009, 2:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Los Angeles Dodgers fans could have a new reason to stick around for the ninth inning -- the chance to be serenaded by the strains of AC/DC's "Hell's Bells."

Hoffman
Hoffman
It could become a regular late-inning occurrence at Dodger Stadium if all-time major league career saves leader Trevor Hoffman accepts an offer to become the team's closer and brings his entrance theme north to L.A.

Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney the Dodgers have offered a one-year deal to Hoffman, 41, who has earned all but two of his 554 career saves for the Padres over 16 seasons. The offer also includes a club option for 2010.

The Dodgers also made an offer to Dennys Reyes on Tuesday night, according to sources, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported. There are also indications the Dodgers are pursuing a right-handed set-up man, believed to be ex-Dodger Guillermo Mota, and are known to have contacted the agent for free-agent right-hander Juan Cruz.

Hoffman had a bitter separation with San Diego management in November, when the team withdrew a $4 million contract offer. The Dodgers' offer exceeds $4 million, according to the Los Angeles Times, which also reported L.A.'s interest in Hoffman. He earned $7.5 million in 2007.

The Milwaukee Brewers are also interested in signing Hoffman -- though it appears Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is aware the team faces a geographic disadvantage in its pursuit, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

"He's got three young boys, so he could go home a lot more if he signs with Los Angeles," Melvin told the newspaper. "That's what free agency allows a player to do -- pick where it's best suited for him to play."

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti declined to comment and Hoffman's agent, Rick Thurman, did not return messages seeking comment, the Times reported.

Hoffman converted 30 of 34 saves and went 3-6 with a 3.77 earned-run average last season, including a 1.59 ERA after the All-Star break.

Signing Hoffman -- and inserting him into the closer's role -- would allow the Dodgers to again use Jonathan Broxton as a set-up man and add depth to a bullpen which has lost Chan Ho Park and has yet to re-sign Takashi Saito or Joe Beimel.

While there has been speculation that Hoffman would have to come to Los Angeles as a set-up man, the Dodgers intend to use him as a closer, at least initially, while grooming Broxton as their closer of the future. The Brewers would also install Hoffman as their closer, Stark reported.

Initially, the Dodgers seemed more focused this winter on the starting-pitching market, after losing both Derek Lowe and Brad Penny to free agency. But clubs and agents that have spoken with them say they have shifted their focus to the bullpen in recent days, Stark reported.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.