Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Trevor Hoffman: Hall of Famer?

Hoffman just retired, and therefore, this is a tough question, because closers are essentially the recipient of a relatively meaningless stat: the save. On one hand, no team would turn down having a good closer on their roster. On the other hand, the whole position came about because of the weakening of starting pitching.

I see the closer a lot like I see the designated hitter – it’s an artificial position. I will grant that such a position can be valuable, but in the end, it’s still not the same as playing and pitching a full nine innings.

That being said, I supported Edgar Martinez for the Hall of Fame – and he had a truly dominant stretch in his career. I think Hoffman is worthy, although I am not sure if he will get in. Baseball-Reference did a post giving pros and cons for Hoffman’s Hall of Fame chances and one of the cons is that most likely Mariano Rivera will pass his Hoffman’s 601 career saves and has other better numbers. The BBWAA is very fickle about putting closers in; it took a long time for Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage to get in, and Lee Smith didn’t even get 50% of the vote this time around. I say yes to Hoffman (if I had a vote), but the climb will be decidedly uphill.

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