Trevor Hoffman agreed to a deal to stay with the Milwaukee Brewers today, receiving a $2 million salary bump to $8 million. Doug Melvin credited Trevor Hoffman with being the Cal Ripken of pitchers, so it’s no surprise an accord was reached so quickly.
I’ve heard some criticism for the deal, given that it’s $8 million less for Milwaukee to spend on its starting pitching. I disagree.
Hoffman certainly is unlikely to post a 1.83 ERA again, lowest since 1998. However, there’s no reason to think he won’t save 37 — the number he racked up this year — again. There’s also no reason to think he will turn into Brad Lidge circa-2009. For a competitive club like Milwaukee, you need a dominating closer. Hoffman is that closer.
The Brewers will have a very busy season ahead with many players (including Prince Fielder) eligible for arbitration. As a result, they’re currently only projected for $47 million in guaranteed contracts, a year after checking in with an $80.2 million payroll.
The payroll is there to bring in help for starting pitching, plain and simple — especially if the Brew Crew trade or non-tender J.J. Hardy, who made $4.65 million this year and won’t get a massive paycut, if he even gets one. Other possible non-tenders include Dave Bush and Seth McClung.
Again, the money will be there. But you can’t win games in this day in age without a closer. You can’t hope to make the playoffs without a good closer. There’s something to be said for starter’s peace of mind knowing when they turn the ball over to the bullpen, they won’t blow it.
Resigning Hoffman, to me, is rather logical.