Trevor Hoffman Is Better With Age, Like a Fine Wine

Jeff BreenContributor IJanuary 8, 2009

Normally I'm skeptical when any team goes after a player who was playing when a guy like Ryan Braun was learning to talk, but Trevor Hoffman, 41, who will suit up with the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers, is a solid investment.

The sure Hall of Famer, who at this point has 554 saves in his career, is at least for now the temporary solution to the Brewers closer problems. 

What makes him better than most?

Take a look at the Brewers closer situation over the last few years.  Dan Kolb, Derrick Turnbow, Francisco Cordero, Eric Gagne, and Solomon Torres have been used over the past four seasons.  In that time Hoffman has been the go to guy in San Diego.  In fact the Padres handed him the ball in the ninth inning for 15 seasons.

Hoffman brings a team first mentality that makes him more valuable than a say, Francisco Rodriguez. 

Hoffman knows of course that he has the closer record, but he will tell you that the teams success is the most important thing.  He also brings in that veteran leadership that is unmatched my many.  This is an athlete who has a no nonsense work ethic when he's on the field come, but still keeps it loose in the clubhouse.

Perhaps, most important is his longevity in the game and his ability to stay healthy and get the job done, when the game is on his shoulders.  I will feel much better this year when the ninth inning comes around.

His control is better than most.  Hoffman, in his 16 year career has only walked 274 batters, while hitting only eight.

If the Brewers can hold on to Brian Shouse and use Jorge Julio as the set up man in the eight, the Brewers pitching situation could be looking much better than originally expected. 

If anything, its good to see the Brewers going after a player with a proven track record and not going after a has been or one-year wonder.  I applaud the Brewers for this move and hope to see many more.