Hoffman to talk with Minaya
Free-agent closer will fly in for day, meet with Mets
LAS VEGAS -- In his quest to find a new team to play with, closer Trevor Hoffman will be meeting with Mets general manager Omar Minaya some time on Monday, a baseball source said and one of his agents confirmed late Sunday night.The all-time leader with 554 saves will fly here to the Winter Meetings on a day trip from his home in San Diego and then return after what was characterized as probably a dinner meeting. The sitdown comes a day after Minaya met with Francisco Rodriguez at the Bellagio.
"There's definite interest in Trevor," said Jeff Borris, an agent from the Beverly Hills Sports Council, who is negotiating a prospective new deal for the right-handed reliever. His colleague Rick Thurman is the lead negotiator on any Hoffman deal.The Mets are meeting this week with potential closing candidates to replace the injured Billy Wagner, who is out for the 2009 season after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow. Wagner's contract expires after the coming season, so he is probably through in New York. Hoffman said last month that he's ready to move on after contract negotiations broke down with the Padres just before the opening of the free-agent signing period. "I'm absolutely open to anything," Hoffman said at the time. "National League, American League, just something that's a good fit in a number of arenas. A lot of it is going to depend on what teams come into play." Hoffman said in a telephone conversation on Sunday that his chances of returning to the Padres are slim after the club pulled off the table a one-year, $4 million deal with a 2010 club option for the same money. But Sandy Alderson, San Diego's chief executive, has maintained since then that he's open to meeting face-to-face with Hoffman, a session which has yet to happen. Hoffman said he's still finding it difficult to conceive that he won't return to the Padres, a franchise for which he's played most of his 16 seasons and has compiled all except two of his saves. Three years ago, Hoffman went through tumultuous negotiations with the Padres as a free agent, but in the end, he decided to stay put for what turned out to be a three-year deal worth $21 million. The Indians, who are suitors again, offered him $11 million more over the same period. Hoffman is facing a market flooded with relievers like Rodriguez, Kerry Wood, Brian Fuentes, Brandon Lyon and Eric Gagne. His agents also happen to represent Fuentes, who's also expected to meet with the Mets here sometime this week.
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.