A couple of veteran pitchers will wear different jerseys for the first time in a long time next season. The Milwaukee Brewers have signed all-time career saves leader Trevor Hoffman to be their closer. And in an interesting development, John Smoltz is leaving Atlanta to join the Boston Red Sox.
Hoffman threw 35 innings with the Florida Marlins in 1993 before spending the rest of his career with the San Diego Padres. The Padres initially opened up talks to re-sign Hoffman, before withdrawing their offer. The Brewers had signed Eric Gagne to be their closer last season, he struggled with the role before losing it permanently to the now retired Solomon Torres.
Eric Karabell thinks Hoffman is past his prime, and I tend to agree. There could be more closer controversy in Milwaukee next season. According to several reports, Hoffman will make $6 million in 2009.
The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn runs down both Smoltz’s deal with the Red Sox and as well an announcement on the signing of hometown boy Rocco Baldelli. Both deals are for one-year. The Smoltz deal guarantees him $5 million plus a shit-load of incentives. Baldelli will make $500,000 and could reach as high as $7.5 million if he meets a few bonus stipulations.
Smoltz spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves. Smoltz is the first pitcher to win a Cy Young Award as a starting pitcher, and then later win the Rolaids Relief Man Award as a closer. He is coming off of serious shoulder surgery, and Baldelli has spent most of his career on the disabled list.