SDUT: Hoffman decides: He's safe at home

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

Trevor Hoffman has chosen to return to the Padres.

Although the Cleveland Indians made a push for San Diego's longtime relief ace, Hoffman today came to contractual terms with the Padres, his employer since June 1993.

Hoffman, 38, is bound to the Padres for two more seasons for a guaranteed $13.5 million, with an option for a third year – all but ensuring that if he becomes the majors' all-time saves leader, he'll do it as a Padre.

"I am absolutely exhausted from the process," Hoffman said today from his home in Rancho Santa Fe. "It's a very grueling experience. I'm glad it's over. I think I made the right decision."

Hoffman said he was greatly impressed by Indians general manager Mark Shapiro and manager Eric Wedge, who visited him Saturday. He said the Indians' braintrust is unquestionably committed to building an ethical, hard-working franchise that has a clear plan for success.

"They made it very, very difficult," he said. "The bottom line is I want to finish my career with the San Diego Padres for myself and for the many people out there that do believe in what I can do. I'm excited."

Last year, Hoffman earned 43 saves in 46 chances, including a stretch of 39 in a row. He needs 43 saves to pass Lee Smith, the major league career leader.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers said "This is probably the most significant signing that I've had. This guy is the face of our organization. I can't put into words what he means to our community."

"To get this done went a little closer than I had hoped," manager Bruce Bochy said in Dallas, where he's attending the winter meetings. "This is huge for us. I know, for me, there's certainly going to be a sense of comfort in that ninth inning now that we have Trevor back."

Bochy added, "I couldn't imagine calling down to the bullpen and not having Trevor. He's a special guy."

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson called Hoffman "a San Diego Padres institution," adding, "His value to the organization and the city of San Diego is immeasurable."

Hoffman's return increases the chances that the Padres will trade set-up reliever Akinori Otsuka, the subject of trade talks with several clubs.

Late Wednesday night the Padres announced they have offered arbitration to pitcher Pedro Astacio and catcher Ramon Hernandez. The catcher is expected to sign with the Baltimore Orioles according to MLBG sources, but offering him arbitration allows the Padres to be awarded a draft choice if Hernandez signs elsewhere.

The Padres chose not to offer arbitration to utility player Robert Fick, pitcher Chris Hammond, third baseman Joe Randa, pitcher Rudy Seanez and infielder Mark Sweeney(who signed earlier in the day with the Giants).