Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Stay classy Padres management
Sixteen years of loyal service, the most saves in major league history (554), 2 Cy Young runner-up finishes, 6 all-star game appearances, the highest career save percentage (.892) among active pitchers, and it all came to an end with a cell phone call from Padres GM Kevin Towers. Really? Don't you think you owed him more than that Padres management? Sure he made plenty of money pitching for the Padres during his career, and sure parting ways with him was absolutely the right business decision for next year (his numbers were way down in 2008 and the last thing a team needs who lost 99 games in 2008 is a high-priced closer). But to part ways over the phone?
Apparently Trevor and his agent (Rick Thurman) were not happy with the Padres $4 million offer for 2009. They saw it as a polite way to nudge him out the door. The Padres indicated that it was the best they could do and sources familiar with the offer said it reflected, to a degree, Hoffman's diminished performance in 2008 (he pitched 45 1/3 innings last season and posted a 3.77 ERA, his highest since 1995, and went 3-6 while converting 30 of 34 save opportunities). Hoffman had Thurman ask for a meeting with Padres president Sandy Alderson, GM Kevin Towers, and owner John Moores, to discuss the offer. If Hoffman's time with the team was going to end he wanted to hear it directly from the team's executives. Can you blame him? But the Padres declined to arrange the meeting, and last Friday, the day after Thurman spoke publicly about Hoffman's desire for a face-to-face sit-down, Towers called Thurman and indicated to him that the Padres intended to withdraw the offer. The organization was upset, Towers told Thurman, that the details of Hoffman's offer had leaked out. Hoffman again had Thurman ask for a meeting with Alderson and Towers. He wanted to be told directly by Alderson that the Padres were ending his time with the team. Is that so much to ask for? Towers told Thurman that the offer was withdrawn and the negotiation was over. Towers then called Hoffman on Monday night and let him know about their decision over the phone. Over the phone? Are you kidding me? Sixteen years in a Padres uniform, the face of the franchise since Tony Gywnn retired in 2001, a model citizen in the community, and you didn't even have the decency to tell him face to face? What the hell is wrong with you Kevin Towers? John Moores is in the middle of a messy, expensive divorce and he rarely interacts with the players anyway so it's somewhat understandable that he didn't want to be involved. But for the club president and the GM to deny Trevor Hoffman the decency of a face to face meeting to let him know he was no longer a Padre is simply inexcusable.
Shame on you Padres management. Shame on you for tricking the city of San Diego into building you a new stadium with the promise of a higher payroll, then slashing said payroll by shipping our best players out of town (Peavy and Giles are next). Shame on you for turning healthy profits while the product you put on the field is little more than a minor league team. And shame on you for not treating a veteran player with the respect he deserved.
Trevor Hoffman is a class act. Always has been, always will be. And although his best days as a baseball player are clearly behind him I wish him the best of luck wherever he lands in 2009. And let me take this opportunity to apologize to you Trevor for the entire city of San Diego. You deserved better. And we deserve better.