Padres, Hoffman agree to new deal

Updated: November 6, 2003, 11:47 AM ET

SAN DIEGO -- Closer Trevor Hoffman was so intent on staying with the San Diego Padres that he was willing to take a big pay cut.

The Padres had a $10 million option on Hoffman for next season but had no intention of picking it up after he missed the first five months of last season while recovering from two offseason shoulder operations.

Instead, they bought him out for $2 million and agreed to a new deal with a $2.5 million salary next year and a chance to make another $500,000 in incentives.

"It's an opportunity to show the team that I am going to be healthy and that I plan on pitching a few more years beyond this contract," Hoffman said Wednesday night. "This is home. I think that ultimately has the final say."

Hoffman, fifth on the career saves list with 352, said he didn't consider testing the free-agent market.

"I just consider myself a Padre," he said. "The thought of going someplace else was real disturbing, to be real honest."

The new deal also has an option for 2005 that Hoffman can guarantee by reaching certain performance levels. General manager Kevin Towers would not be specific, but said the numbers should be easily attained if the reliever has a good season.

"I'm not going to say this was easy. It was complicated because of his injury," Towers said. "But it was pretty clear that Trevor wanted to wear only one uniform, the Padres' uniform, and we wanted him to stay in a Padres' uniform."

Hoffman made $9 million in 2003, the last year of a $32 million, four-year contract.

"He knew he'd have to take a much smaller base and prove to us and prove to the rest of baseball that he can perform at the level he did before the injury," Towers said.

The 36-year-old right-hander is known for his intense stare, high leg kick and wicked changeup. All but two of his saves have come with the Padres.

Hoffman didn't have any saves last season. Stuck in last place in the NL West, the Padres didn't want to rush Hoffman after he returned in September. His nine appearances were all in non-save situations and spaced out by three days.

Going into his 12th big league season, he's the only player left from the Padres' 1998 World Series team. The club will move into a new ballpark next season.

Hoffman got his first two saves as a rookie with the expansion Florida Marlins in 1993, then was acquired by the Padres on June 24, 1993.

He had never been on the disabled list until undergoing a double round of surgery on his throwing shoulder.

Before his injury, Hoffman set major league records with 40 saves in four straight seasons and 30 saves in eight consecutive seasons.

While Hoffman passed on a chance to test the market, Florida reserve Lenny Harris and three other players filed for free agency Wednesday, pushing the total above 200 for the first time.

Outfielder John Mabry filed after Seattle declined his $1.5 million option and opted to pay a $250,000 buyout. Atlanta first baseman Matt Franco also filed.

St. Louis reliever Mike DeJean filed conditionally. The Cardinals still have not decided whether to exercise his $2.5 million option or pay a $200,000 buyout.

Backup catcher Alberto Castillo re-signed with San Francisco, agreeing to a $400,000, one-year contract.

A total of 201 players have filed since the World Series. Up to 20 more players potentially are eligible to file before the Sunday deadline, including Roger Clemens (who intends to retire) and Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees, and Derek Lowe of Boston.

Boston has until Nov. 10 to exercise a $4.5 million option on Lowe or pay a $500,000 buyout.

Before this year, the previous high for filings was 158 after the 2002 season.

Players cannot start talking money with new teams until Monday.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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