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Friars, Hoffman hope to reach deal

Friars, Hoffman hope to reach deal

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres and closer Trevor Hoffman have had preliminary discussions regarding the Major League career saves leader returning to San Diego in 2009, but there is no imminent deal in the works.

General manager Kevin Towers and Hoffman confirmed Friday that there is no pending deal that would bring back the Padres closer for 2009, though those talks are expected to heat up once the regular season ends.

Hoffman, who has 553 career saves and has converted 29 saves in 33 opportunities this season, said earlier this month that he would like to return to the Padres for what will be his 17th Major League season.

Hoffman, who is in the final year of a three-year deal worth $21 million, will make $7.5 million this season.

The two sides met earlier this month in Milwaukee after Hoffman and Towers publicly reiterated their mutual interest in getting a deal done for 2009.

Towers said he would have a better idea of what the budget might be before the end of the regular season. The budget for 2008 was $73.6 million, though it's expected to drop somewhere in the $60 million (or less) range in 2009.

"Based on my conversation, that's what I'd gather from it," Hoffman said this month. "There's definite interest. They've got to wait and see what is handed down from above. The question is where the club's going more than about me.

"So it's all a little premature until you find out what the payroll is going to be."

Hoffman has posted a Major League record 14th season with at least 20 saves. He is 2-1 with 12 saves in 13 opportunities and a 1.69 ERA since the All-Star break.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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