Monday, October 5, 2009

Trevor Hoffman: Price Too Steep?

Like so many other baseball fans, I am a huge fan of Trevor Hoffman and I'm thrilled to see him return in 2010:
"Hoffman, who turns 42 next week, had 37 saves and a 1.55 ERA with the Brewers this season, pushing his career saves total to 591, the major league record.

Hoffman will earn $8 million next season, and Hoffman and the Brewers will share an option for another deal in the 2011."
Like I said before, I love Hoffman, but I just dunno about this deal from the Brewers' perspective. I know Hoffman put together a phenomenal 2009 season and is one of the best clubhouse guys in baseball, but there are a number of reasons why I don't like this deal for the Brewers:

1. Allocation of Resources
-The Brewers have a limited budget to work with as is (a budget that may force them to trade Prince Fielder down the road) and spending $8 million on a closer is excessive in my eyes. I know the Brewers have struggled for years to find a competent closer, but if the Brewers' payroll hovers around $80 million next season, then they will be spending 10% of their budget on one relief pitcher.

2. Cheaper options
-The free agent market is littered with guys, who have closing experience and would probably come at a cheaper and more affordable rate than Hoffman (i.e: Kevin Gregg, Mike Gonzalez, Fernando Rodney, JJ Putz)

3. Starting pitching
-The Brewers' focus needs to be on finding quality starting pitching behind Yovani Gallardo if they are going to compete in 2010. Personally, I would have preferred to see the Brewers lock up a starter, who can throw 200 IP every season for $8 million istead of Hoffman.

4. More moves
-Between Mike Cameron's impending free agency, a handful of arbitration eligibles (Hardy, Hart, Bush), and holes at 2b and in the rotation; this move could limit Melvin's financial flexibility moving forward.

If the Brewers had a bigger budget to work with, I don't think I'd mind this deal as much. However, it would have been smart for the Brewers to at least see if there were any cheaper options avaliable so that they could have maximized their limited resources on the diamond.


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Jason B said...

Agreed. For a middle-market team with finite resources, allocating a tenth of the budget to a closer seems like a stretch to me. As a Jays fan, I'm acutely aware of how this can backfire (*ahem* BJ Ryan *ahem*). Granted if you're going to do it, a 1-year deal is more sensible than 5 (5!). Still, on balance, I'd spend $5M per on Gonzalez, or something like that.

Jorge Says No! said...

I would have spent $3-$5 million on a closer and then addressed the holes in the starting rotation with whatever was left over.