Thursday, January 8, 2009

Don't Hassel the Hoff

I know it's a stretch, I just wanted to avoid the headlines that most other sites will be using from the boring: Trevor Hoffman strikes deal with Brewers; to the more "clever": "Hell's Bells" ringing in Miller Park (no offense intended JD, just not my style). Plus it leads to cool pictures such as the one below.

But I digress... I shut my mouth for a week, didn't mention names of players brought up in rumors or players I think the Brewers should go after and look what happens, the Brewers ink Hoffman to a one year deal for $6 million and an additional $1.5 million in incentives if he finishes 52 games. At the risk of sounding like "always optimistic about his baseball's teams chances" guy, I love the move. There are those that say Hoffman's time is over and he can't be effective in MLB anymore. To them I ask, "where are you getting this from?" It seems that people are only looking at two numbers, his age and his ERA last year. He converted 30 of 34 saves which is an 88% conversion rate, right on pace with his career rate of 89%. He struck out 46 while only walking 9 which equates to 5.1 K/BB, his best mark since the 2004 season and well above his career average of 3.85 K/B. Compared to career numbers, his WHIP was better (1.04 vs. 1.05), Opponent OBP lower (.263 vs. .265), BB/9 lower (1.79 vs. 2.50) and the fourth best Ground out/Air out ratio in his 16 years; and this is the career of a first-ballot Hall of Famer who just happens to own the career saves record. Oh, and by the way, he's the only player in history to record 30+ saves in 13 consecutive seasons...

Yeah he's old, but look at guys like Maddux, Smoltz, Rogers, Wakefield, Clemens (I'm not getting into it here) and Moyer who all got/get it done in the twilight of their careers. Hoffman's a vet that knows his way around a pitching mound and doesn't rely on 95+ mph heat to shut the door. He can use his years of experience (a devastating changeup doesn't hurt either) to get his way through the ninth and get Brewers fans back to their homes happy. Do I think he's going to save 50+ games? Absolutely not. Do I think he's going to post a sub 2.50 ERA? Not likely. But do I think that he's capable of 35-40 saves? Hell yeah. Is he going to close the door 9 out of ten times he takes the ball? Not a doubt in my mind.

So let the naysayers come out of the wood work. Let them criticize the Brewers for misappropriating their limited resources on another over-paid, over-the-hill pitcher. They'll be the same people who will be buying the Hoffman t-shirts/jerseys when Miller Park opens its doors.

1 comment:

JD said...

Love the Hoffman signing. Now Doug needs to get us a starter. My choices are Sheets, Garland or Looper. (We have no chance at Lowe)