Trevor Hoffman told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he’s leaning toward wanting to continue pitching in 2011, but McCalvy writes that “the offers are sparse” for the all-time saves leader after he struggled in 2010.
With a 2-7 record and 5.89 ERA in 47 innings Hoffman’s overall numbers were ugly, but he bounced back from a brutal first two months to post a 2.67 ERA, .218 opponents’ batting average, and 20/9 K/BB ratio in 30 innings over his final 32 appearances. And he’s just one season removed from saving 37 games with a 1.83 ERA.
Hoffman told McCalvy that had some conversations with the Diamondbacks early in the offseason, but that window closed when they signed J.J. Putz:
Arizona got hot there for a little bit, but that closed when J.J. signed. It seemed like a pretty good opportunity. I haven’t come to grips yet whether, if something comes along, I want to pitch. That needs to be cleared up first. I’m kind of enjoying being normal and having an offseason. Usually, after only a few weeks you’re beginning the process again of getting your body in tune. I haven’t really engaged in the continual workouts like I’ve done in previous years, and it’s been a little refreshing. I’m hoping it will bring clarity into the decision.
At this point it seems unlikely that any team will give Hoffman an opportunity to enter 2011 as their closer, so the question is whether he wants to be a middle reliever and perhaps whether he wants to battle for a middle relief job on a minor-league contract. He showed enough in the second half to suggest he can still get big-league hitters out at age 43, but coming back would mean entering a season without ninth-inning duties for the first time since 1993.
Adam McCalvy of MLB.com caught up with legendary Brewers announcer Bob Uecker, who’s spending the offseason in Arizona resting up after undergoing two heart surgeries this year and plans to return to the broadcast booth for his 41st season in 2011.
At age 75 he “plans to work a full schedule” of games and Uecker told McCalvy that he’s looking forward to spring training more than ever after a 2010 filled with health problems:
It makes you appreciate things around you that you don’t pay a lot of attention to normally. It makes you appreciate your job. It makes you appreciate all of the guys who worked on me and all of the great baseball fans who say they want you back. There’s no way I’m going to quit. I wouldn’t know what the heck to do. I feel good. When I start slobbering, then it will be a different story. They won’t have to tell me when to quit. I’ll know.
McCalvy described Uecker as “choking up” when discussing the outpouring of fan support he received while in the hospital. In four decades calling Brewers games it was just the second time he’s missed a large number of games.
This morning I wrote about how Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies leaves Carl Pavano as the top starting pitcher on the free agent market, but Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Pavano’s “other suitors” aside from the Twins “are pessimistic and think he’s going back to Minnesota.”
That jibes with Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s latest report, which speculates that Brewers general manager Doug Melvin is no longer aggressively pursuing Pavano.
Melvin told Haudricourt that he got in touch with Pavano’s agent yesterday, but “just to gauge interest.”
Pavano resurrected his career in Minnesota, going 22-15 with a 3.97 ERA in 44 starts for the Twins after coming over in a mid-2009 deal from the Indians, so it makes sense that he’d want to re-sign.
However, with the Brewers and Nationals also being linked often to Pavano–and the Rangers perhaps jumping into the bidding late after missing out on Lee–there was speculation that he could be in line for a three-year deal, which seemingly would have taken the Twins out of the mix. If instead he’s choosing between two-year offers, the Twins can indeed be viewed as front-runners.