Free-agent relief ace Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader, is ready to move on, one of his Los Angeles-based agents said Wednesday night. That process can start when the free-agent exclusivity period ends Thursday night at midnight ET.
After 16 seasons, Hoffman was told by the Padres last weekend that they had taken a one-year, $4 million offer with a second-year club option at the same money off the table. And thus right now, San Diego may not be an option.
But Jeff Borris of the Beverly Hills Sports Council believes that there's a wide market for Hoffman, who has saved 554 games -- including 552 for the Padres, the most for any closer with any single club. Teams like the Indians, Rays, Mets and Cardinals are all in the market for a closer.
"I think Trevor can help a lot of teams," Borris said. "And starting Friday, we'll take a look at where it would be a good fit for Trevor. I'm sure there are numerous clubs that would love to have 'Hells Bells' ringing in their ballpark."
Borris was referring to the rousing AC/DC rock anthem that the Padres have played for years when Hoffman entered home games at either Qualcomm Stadium or PETCO Park.
The Indians have already shown interest in Hoffman, just as they did three years ago -- the last time the right-hander was a free agent. At the time, Hoffman turned down a $32 million, three-year deal to go to Cleveland for $21 million over the same period in San Diego.
Indians GM Mark Shapiro said he wants to talk to Hoffman again if he indeed leaves the Padres. Borris declined to say if the parties have already spoken.
Hoffman, after a shaky start in 2008, saved 30 games in 34 opportunities, including 16 in a row at one point. The Padres, though, lost 99 games, and Hoffman threw a career-low 45 1/3 innings during a healthy season because the situations weren't available.
Borris wouldn't speculate where Hoffman, a homebody with a wife, four young boys and close ties to the San Diego community, might land.
"Free agency is a game of musical chairs," Borris said. "So you never know where a free agent is going to go until he signs with that individual club."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.