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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Big Unit, Trevor Hoffman Near Retirement; Do They Know It?

Ken Rosenthal observes that Randy Johnson may not be back in Arizona next year, despite his apparent wish to do so. The sticking point, of course, is his rather inflated price:
The last day for players to declare free agency is Thursday. And neither seemed especially optimistic on Monday that a deal would be reached.

"It's hard to say how it will turn out," one Diamondbacks official said.

Johnson earned $15.1 million last season. He has not earned less than $9.1 million since 1998. And after going 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA and pitching 184 innings last season, he probably is not interested in a major paycut.

The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, surely are not enamored with the idea of paying $10 million or more to a 45-year-old pitcher with a history of back trouble — even though Johnson's countdown to 300 victories likely would boost attendance.

The Diamondbacks recently laid off 31 front office employees as part of cost-cutting measures, and it's certainly questionable whether the franchise would be interested in Johnson at those prices.

Trevor Hoffman is in a similar situation with the Padres; a franchise icon for years, the Pads withdrew a contract offer to him of $4M in 2009 with a $4M team option for 2010, with no buyout. Hoffman failed to respond, and the team took the deal off the table over the weekend. Kevin Towers has declined comment as to whether this marks the end of negotiations. It's said that the Indians would be interested in Hoffman if negotiations fall through, but in both cases, it's clear that retirement is within sight for both men, and possibly before the 2009 season starts.

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