Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Bartlett Deal and Trevor Hoffman

Padres Trail:  The Cutting Edge of commentary on stories at least 24 hours old.

The Padres signed Jason Bartlett to a 2-year deal worth $11 million guaranteed.  There is a club option for a third year at $5.5M, with a $1.5M buyout.  Cot's Baseball Contracts reports the contract is incentivized, meaning Bartlett may guarantee the third year if he meets certain performance thresholds.  They don't tell you what those are sadly.  So much for the 'Is Jason Bartlett returning in 2013' meter I was planning to put in the margin.

Assuming both Orlando Hudson and Bartlett play in San Diego for the duration of their contracts, 2011/2012 will be the first 2-year stretch with the same two men playing second and short, respectively, since 2004/2005 (Mark Loretta and Khalil Greene, if you are interested).  That's a lot of turnover in the middle infield over the past 5 seasons.  No wonder GM Jed Hoyer made it a priority to stabilize the situation at those two positions.

How good of a deal is this?  Fangraphs' Eno Sarris discussed it yesterday and thinks the Padres spent wisely.  I don't see a reason to disagree with his logic, although how good a signing this is will depend largely on whether Bartlett can remain healthy all season.  If, as Sarris supposes, the dramatic decline in his range last season is due to lower body injuries, then hopefully he (and the Padres training staff) can develop a strategy to prevent that.

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Trevor Hoffman has officially retired, and has been invited to become a part of the Padre front office for 2011.  I didn't realize he is 43 years old.  Trevor leaves the game as it's all-time saves leader, and the only man to save 600 games in a career.  I would imagine the Padres will retire his number at some point this season.

There are a couple of things I like about how he's handled his departure from the game.
  1. No one-day contract.  This always struck me as silly.  Great players have already cemented their place in their fan's hearts.  Besides, great players have a lot of great highlights, and those highlights showcase the player in the uniform of the team he played on when he was making them.  You ever see highlights of Gretzky wearing a St Louis Blues uniform?  Of course not - he was only there a couple of months, but also he wasn't the sublime player he was with Edmonton and Los Angeles (heck, even with the New York Rangers he was pretty OK).  Hoffman will be shown getting #600 as a Brewer until Mariano Rivera breaks his record.  Then his highlight clips will revert to ones from the mid- and late-1990s when he dominated the NL.
  2. Has a plan.  How many players leave the league and just play golf until they get restless?  Hoffman is interested in the business side of the game, and is looking to find his next niche. Give the Padres credit for allowing him the time to determine where he fits in best.
That's all for now.  

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