Another big day on the MLB Hot Stove. It is not often that you have 2 future Hall of Famers sign on the same day but that is what happened today with Trevor Hoffman signing with the Brewers and John Smoltz signing with the Red Sox. Let’s take a look at all 3 of today’s signings.
Trevor Hoffman takes his record-setting 554 saves to Milwaukee with the hope of helping the Brewers take the next step in the National League. Hoffman signed a 1 year $6MM contract and even at 41, Hoffman will be an upgrade over Eric Gagne and Soloman Torres. Though Hoffman had his highest era in his career last year (3.77) and his “stuff” has been on the decline in recent years, I would imagine any Brewer fan would rather see Hoffman closing games in September than what they had last year.
I agree with ESPN’s Eric Karabell in that 30+ saves and an era of 4+ is probable for Hoffman.
In Boston, the Red Sox continue their off season of “low-risk, high-reward” signings by inking future Hall of Famer John Smoltz and former Tampa Bay Ray and pride of Rhode Island Rocco Baldelli to 1 year deals.
Smoltz, who is currently rehabilitating from shoulder surgery is expected to return around June. Look for the Red Sox to use Smoltz like they did with Curt Schilling in 2007. Instead of pitching every 5 days, Smoltz will most likely pitch every 6-7 days so he has something left for September/October. If Smoltz can make it to September (and that is a big if) the Red Sox will have one of the all-time great gamers pitching for them when it matters.
The Red Sox also signed Rhode Island native Rocco Baldelli today to be their 4th outfielder. For those of you who don’t know, Baldelli missed most of last season when he was diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder. This is a condition that left Baldelli extremely fatigued after only a short workout. Recently it was reported on WPRI that Baldelli was misdiagnosed and he actually suffers from channelopathy, which is a treatable disease.
It will be interesting to see how much Baldelli can play this year. Baldelli is no longer the player once dubbed the “next Joe DiMaggio” but if he can remain healthy he should be a valuable 4th outfielder and a solid right-handed bat off the bench.