You stay classy, San Diego: Padres fax a good-bye to Hoffman

David Brown

They say divorce hurts the children the most.

Trevor Hoffman hasn't been a kid since the mid-'80s, but the very adult business of the San Diego Padres cutting salary, which apparently is tied to the team's owner splitting with his wife, has kicked baseball's career saves leader to the curb.

Several news outlets (among them, the San Diego Union-Tribune, ESPN's Buster Olney and are reporting the Padres have rescinded a contract offer to Hoffman, a free agent, who has piled up all but two of his 554 saves with the Padres since 1993. (He had a couple with the Marlins.)

The Padres say they're slashing expenditures, most notably by trying to trade ace Jake Peavy, probably to the Braves or Cubs, and further scorching the Earth by pushing away Hoffman, the indisputable face of the franchise.

And, get this: The Padres informed Hoffman not in person with a one-on-one conversation, or a hand-written note, or even with a phone call

Instead, they sent his reps a fax.

Hells bells, now that's class.

General manager Kevin Towers, who is stuck in the middle, won't comment other than to confirm the Pads have yanked the 1-year, $4-million offer (plus a $4 million-club option for 2010) to Hoffman. He earned $7.5 million in 2008.

Hoffman had said he wanted to speak with owner John Moores, personally, to gauge where the organization was headed before he considered taking a pay cut.

He got his answer, albeit impersonally.

"Trevor is upset with the way they've handled the situation," one of Hoffman's agents said.

Hoffman's actually been with the club longer than Moores, who came on the scene in 1994 right after the previous ownership blew up the roster to make it more appealing, supposedly, for a new owner.

Hoffman saved 30-of-34 opportunities in 2008, when he made $7.5 million. His 3.77 ERA was his highest since 1995, though it was only 2.39 after June 1. Hoffman, who's 41, did have his lightest workload since 2003, when he had rotator cuff surgery.

He'll be somebody else's closer now.