If you’ve followed this blog at all over the years you know that McD and myself are gigantic Padres fans. We both grew up in San Diego and have an affinity for the little franchise that could in America’s Finest City. It absolutely broke our hearts when the Padres let Trevor Hoffman walk away to the Milwaukee Brewers two years ago and we railed against the franchise’s decision to let one of its most beloved players drift away. Turns out, the move was the right one. As the beginning of this season has shown, it might be time for the 42-year-old Hoffman to walk away from the game.
Last year Heath Bell – Hoffman’s replacement in San Diego and his understudy for the previous two seasons – led the National League in saves (42) and awesome quotes. He was arguably the best closer in baseball. Hoffman had a great season, racking up 37 saves in 41 chances, while sporting a 1.83 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. But this season “Trevor Time” has been a nightmare for the Brewers.
In 9.0 innings, Hoffy has a 1-2 record, a 13.00 ERA, a 2.00 WHIP and just three saves in seven chances. He’s allowed 15 hits, 13 earned runs, six home runs and has walked three batters while striking out just five.
The greatest closer in the history of the game (shut up Yankees fans) may have lost his touch and it really pains me to say that. While it’s not certain that Hoffman has gone all Brad Lidge on us, it is undeniable that he isn’t what he used to be. Scouts are claiming that his velocity hasn’t diminished much (he’s still regularly hitting 85 mph on the gun and has even touched 88 this year) but it’s his money pitch that’s abandoned him. Apparently Hoffman is having issues controlling his change up, a pitch that has beguiled major league hitters for years.
Apparently Hoffman doesn’t have the confidence in the pitch that he used to as he’s had trouble locating it so far this season.
Brewers manager Ken Macha has claimed he has no plans to replace Hoffman as his closer, but he will give him a night off tonight in San Diego.
Again, I love Trevor Hoffman. McD and I saw him and his family all the time when we were growing up because they lived just a few blocks from us. He’s not only a great baseball player but he has always been a great guy. It sucks to see him struggle but it just might be time for him to come home to San Diego, sign a one-day contract and retire as a Padre. His number will be immediately retired and then he can just wait for the Hall of Fame to come calling.
I know that won’t happen. Hoffman is a competitor and he’ll at least finish out the 2010 season. But it pains me to see him getting knocked around the yard and hear people bad-mouthing him. He’s the best that’s ever done his job and nothing can take that away from him.
Don’t worry Hoffy, we still love you.