Shortly after the season ended, Trevor Hoffman and the Brewers came to terms on a one year/$8 million dollar contract that kept Hoffman in Milwaukee through 2010 and potentially even 2011 thanks to a mutual option. Hoffman, 41, put together a stellar season with the Brewers in 2009 by finishing with 37 saves and an incredible 1.83 ERA.
Given the year Hoffman had with the Brewers in 2009 and his name recognition, it's not hard to see why the Brewers decided to re-sign Hoffman. But what is up for debate is why the Brewers decided to commit 10% of their payroll (roughly $80 million) to a closer when there was such a glut of free agent closers on the market.
As it turns out, the market for closers has been horrible this winter. The top closers on the market are not coming close to making what they anticipated and not one closer has topped $7 million in salary in 2010. Additionally, the best closer on the free agent market, Jose Valverde, is still a free agent with minimal interest from teams around the league because no one wants to give him a multi year contract worth $8-$10 million annually.
So why is Hoffman a offseason winner? Because he did the smart thing by signing early before the market for closers could develop and in turn, getting more guaranteed money in 2010 than any other free agent closer to date. It's hard to say how much Hoffman would have made on the free agent market, but given how things played out this winter, it's hard to imagine that he could have done much better than he did.