All-times saves leader Trevor Hoffman announces retirement

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Trevor Hoffman has decided to retire after 18 seasons and an MLB record 601 saves, the future Hall of Famer told Barry Bloom of MLB.com today.

As recently as last month Hoffman was looking for work as a free agent, but with no teams willing to guarantee him a shot at closing in 2011 the 43-year-old right-hander called it quits and will instead take a front office job with the Padres.

It’s time to retire. It’s time to move on. This is more of a self-evaluation. I expect to pitch at a certain level and I had to be honest with myself that I wasn’t certain I could maintain that anymore.

Bloom notes that Hoffman and the Padres had a difficult parting of ways in 2008, but after spending two seasons with the Brewers he’s ready to put that behind him and return to organization he called home for 16 years. Hopefully they’ll begin the press conference by playing his entrance music: “Hells Bells” by AC/DC.

Hoffman was a seven-time All-Star who twice finished runner-up in the NL Cy Young voting and racked up 40-plus saves in nine different seasons, which is an MLB record. He’s the all-time leader with 601 saves, putting him 42 ahead of Mariano Rivera and more than 300 ahead of any other active pitcher. In other words Hoffman will be first or second all time in saves when he goes into Cooperstown, presumably five years from now.

Not bad for a guy who was drafted as a shortstop and didn’t become a full-time closer until age 26.

Brad Ausmus out as Tigers manager

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The Tigers just announced that they will not be bringing Brad Ausmus back as manager in 2018. His contract was going to be up at the end of this season and they have decided not to renew it. Ausmus and his staff will manage the club for the final week of the season.

In the press release announcing the move, Tigers GM Al Avila said “[a]s we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best that we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position.” He went on to praise Ausmus for “doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances, especially this season,” a clear reference to the club’s decision at mid-season to blow things up. Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez were traded in July and August, as were some more minor players. The club is clearly embarking on a lengthy rebuild of which Ausmus, who was brought in four years ago to lead a contending team, will not be a part.

In his four seasons at the helm the Tigers are 312-325. He won 90 games and the AL Central in his first season in 2014, but the Tigers were swept out of the ALDS in three games. In the past three seasons they finished fifth, second and will either finish in fourth or fifth this year. Injuries and poor bullpens have been the biggest problem, but clearly this Tigers team was supposed to win more over the past four years.

It’s unclear what direction the Tigers will take in their managerial search, but it’s clear they’re going to go outside of the organization, as Avila said in his statement that the status of the current coaching staff will be contingent on the wishes of whatever new manager they hire.

Happy trails, Brad Ausmus. Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager is now Baseball’s Most Handsome Unemployed coach.

The Mets are doing something really weird with Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey

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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the Mets are going to give Noah Syndergaard the start for tomorrow’s game. But here’s the hitch: he’ll only get one inning and then Matt Harvey will enter in the second inning and go from there. Harvey was originally scheduled to take the start. Syndergaard, of course, has been out since April. Harvey has been pitching under the loosest definition of the term.

I can see, if they are intent on putting Syndergaard in a real game, having him start one rather than come in out of the bullpen for purposes of preparation and routine. At the same time, however, if he’s only able to throw one inning at this point, with a little over a week left in the season, what’s the point of him pitching at all? As for Harvey relieving: he’s kind of a mess right now. Is he someone whose routine you really want to throw off?

I guess this doesn’t hurt anything — at least as long as Syndergaard doesn’t hurt himself throwing in a meaningless game at the end of the season — but it certainly is odd. It makes me wonder if this is some sort of “Dave” or “Moon Over Parador” situation in which the Mets are just trying to create the impression that Syndergaard is still alive.

Could Kevin Klein pitch an inning? Richard Dreyfuss?