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.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.