MLB: Dodgers hope to fight off Brewers for Hoffman
By Bill Shaikin
Los Angeles Times
By Bill Shaikin
LOS ANGELES — The ninth inning at Dodger Stadium could be Trevor Time this year.
As the San Francisco Giants consider trumping the Los Angeles Dodgers' offer to Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers have offered all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman a one-year contract to be their closer.
The Milwaukee Brewers also are in pursuit of Hoffman, who is expected to make his decision this week. It is uncertain whether the Brewers have offered a two-year guarantee to combat their geographical disadvantage, since Hoffman lives in northern San Diego County.
"He's got three young boys, so he could go home a lot more if he signs with Los Angeles," Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "That's what free agency allows a player to do — pick where it's best suited for him to play."
Hoffman made $7.5 million last season with the San Diego Padres, who withdrew a $4 million offer to him in November. The Dodgers' offer exceeds $4 million.
Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti declined to comment. Rick Thurman, the agent for Hoffman, did not return two messages from the Los Angeles Times.
Hoffman, 41, earned all but two of his 554 saves for the Padres. He grew up in Orange County, and his father was a longtime usher at what was then called Anaheim Stadium.
He went 3-6 with a 3.77 ERA last season, including a 1.59 ERA after the All-Star break. He converted 30 of 34 saves but gave up one home run every 5.7 innings, the second-worst ratio of his career.
By signing Hoffman, the Dodgers would return Jonathan Broxton to a setup role and add a veteran arm to a bullpen that has lost Takashi Saito, Joe Beimel and Chan Ho Park.
Meanwhile, with the Dodgers and Ramirez in the third month of a contract stalemate, the rival Giants are considering whether to extend him a three-year offer, according to a baseball source familiar with their thinking.
The Giants had no interest in Ramirez until recently, the source said, but the signings of shortstop Edgar Renteria and pitchers Randy Johnson, Jeremy Affeldt and Bobby Howry persuaded them they might be one big bat away from winning a weakened National League West.
They are content with an outfield of Fred Lewis, Aaron Rowand and Randy Winn, but Ramirez plays left field.
"It's actually not what we're looking for," San Francisco General Manager Brian Sabean told XM Radio, "except that he's such a profound middle-of-the-order hitter, which we need."
Sabean said the Giants have discussed contract parameters but have not made an offer. The Dodgers are not believed to have increased — or even reinstated — their offer of two years and $45 million.
The Dodgers will meet or beat their season-ticket sales from last year even if they do not sign Ramirez, chief operating officer Dennis Mannion said.
The club projects to sell about 24,000 season tickets, same as last year, he said. The sales pace is ahead of last year, he said, citing the Dodgers' first trip to the NL Championship Series in 20 years and the price freeze on season tickets.
Renewal payments are due Friday, and Mannion said he does not expect the uncertainty over Ramirez to impact most of the roughly 10 percent of accounts still outstanding.
"We've had plenty of `Hope you sign Manny' but not `You won't see a penny from me if you don't,' " Mannion said.
Still, he said, the Dodgers probably could sell another 2,000 season seats if they do sign Ramirez. At the average ticket price of $29.66, according to Team Marketing Report, plus the roughly $17 that each fan spends on food, drink and parking, those additional 2,000 seats would translate into about $7.5 million in gross revenue.