Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Return of Hoffman?

Buster Olney speculated the return of Trevor Hoffman to the Padres in his column this morning. He cites the move as a potential PR balance if Adrian and Heath are traded by next July's trade deadline. He also says a number of baseball executives are certain Trevor will be back at Petco next season.

Now, I did my share of Hoffman-bashing during the '08 season when he seemed incapable of closing out a game. And I didn't mind when Towers lowballed him with an offer that eventually drove him to the Brewers.

But, I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, I want Trevor Hoffman back.

And I want Heath Bell traded before February, not July.

Putting Hoffman back in the closer role for a final, farewell season -- and I only want this deal if Trevor announces it as his last season -- would surely reinvigorate the 43-year-old, right? He gets to go out on good terms with the team whose hat he'll be wearing in Cooperstown. And he'll have a chance at a little revenge with the guys who pushed him out (Towers and Alderson) each time the Padres visit Chase Field and Citi Field.

The best part is now that he's had his fair share of humble pie (I'd say he's pretty stuffed by now) from setting up John Axford on the Brewers for a season, then the transition back to set-up with either Mike Adams or Luke Gregerson stepping up to close is that much easier if Hoffman stumbles throughout April and May.

And if you use Trevor's first name to substitute Bell's place in the infamous nickname, then our bullpen gets a whole lot more ghetto when it's referred to as G.A.T.!

I haven't even got to my favorite part of this idea yet. Which is trading away a full year of Bell -- getting better players in return and saving money. For the chance to close again, Hoffman won't be too worried about his salary, especially after his shitty 2010. The difference between Bell and Hoffman is the difference between about $6M. That can be used for a Jon Garland replacement. Or maybe spend it on a crate of HGH for Ryan Ludwick.

(On that note -- SEAN -- let it be said that the Giants push for the playoffs this year was certainly aided by Jose Guillen's 3 HRs and 15 RBIs in the stretch, all because of Canseco juice. Him receiving a ring this year taints every ring on your team.)*

*I don't believe that, but it felt really good to say.

Trading Heath Bell seems like the best way to add someone to our middle infield, too. If the Red Sox trade Papelbon, then Bell becomes a cheaper one-year stopgap for Daniel Bard, and we can get Jed Lowrie. Or the Rays need someone, and we've already shown interest in Jason Bartlett. How about reuniting Bell with Towers and getting Stephen Drew? Those all seem like potential matches give or take another prospect or two from either side.

The benefits add up. Worst case scenario is Hoffman completely falls apart. But at this point, I think we can assume/hope he'll retire if his ERA climbs near 6 again. Best case scenario of Hell's Bells back at Petco with Hoffman scraping together one, final, quasi-respectable season as a Padre is enough to make it worth it.

And with Bell and Gonzalez entering their final seasons, bringing an old face of the franchise back to replace the new faces might be enough to not totally kill attendance.

Personally, I just want to see Tony Gwynn snap after a game in frustration as the fourth outfielder... with Uncle Trevor pulling him aside and giving him a lecture. (It's the little things when you're rooting for the Padres.)

I apologize to anyone (anyone being Joe) for any whiplash due to my quick change of attitude with Trevor Hoffman. I wouldn't be supporting this idea if I wasn't so confident in Adams and Gregerson. But I am. I am supporting it. I want the all time saves leader back where he belongs.

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