LOS ANGELES -- The Padres won't wait until the offseason to approach closer Trevor Hoffman to see if he wants to pitch for San Diego in 2009. General manager Kevin Towers said on Wednesday that he intends to talk with the Major League's career saves leader in the coming weeks to let him know the team's direction for the future and to gauge Hoffman's interest in playing beyond this season. "I plan to talk to him before the season is over," Towers said. "I'll give him an idea of what the ballclub will look like in '09."
Hoffman, who is making $7.5 million this season, will be a free agent this offseason. Hoffman, who will turn 41 in October, has 27 saves for a team that has posted only 53 victories. "He hasn't had many save opportunities," Towers said. Hoffman has said that he would like to pitch beyond this season and do so with the Padres, with whom he has accumulated all but two of his 551 saves. Hoffman has converted 27 of 31 saves this season and converted 16 consecutive saves from June 4-Aug. 31 before finally blowing a save against the Rockies. Towers doesn't think he'll meet much resistance from Hoffman regarding his return in 2009, though there are other factors like payroll, expected to be down from $73.6 million, and the direction of a team that is using this month as a chance to look at several young players who figure to be a part of its future. "I don't think there's any doubt he wants to come back and there's no doubt that we want him back," Towers said.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.