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Hoffman's deal included no-trade clause in '98

Deal answered desire to remain in San Diego
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The passage of the measure to build what became Petco Park will best be remembered as the aftermath of the 1998 season.
     
But there was a flip side.
     
In the wake of winning their second National League pennant and reaching the World Series, the Padres saw considerable negative movement in the off-season.
     
Starting pitcher Kevin Brown signed a record free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Center fielder Steve Finley went to Arizona as a free agent. Ken Caminiti returned to Houston via free agency. Pitcher Mark Langston followed the same route to Cleveland.
     
Slugger Greg Vaughn and key reserve Mark Sweeney were traded to Cincinnati. Pitcher Joey Hamilton was traded to Toronto.
     
Trevor Hoffman, however, wanted no part of leaving the Padres and San Diego. And he didn't want any part of being the subject of trade rumors.
     
"There were a number of things working over that winter leading to the 1999 season, including a bit of fate," Hoffman recalled recently. "I loved it here. Tracy loved it here. We were building a family here. And my side of the family was all in Southern California."
     
"And when I looked around, I saw all this movement of players . . . not just with the Padres but throughout Major League baseball. Then I thought about Tony Gwynn and how he was spending his entire career as a Padre and connecting with the community in so many ways."
     
"I wanted that."
     
So Hoffman approached the Padres with an idea. He wanted a multi-year contract with a no-trade clause.
     
"I benefitted that some of my teammates had left via trades and free agency," said Hoffman. "I didn't want to go and the Padres were interested in having me stay. There are very few times in baseball that you have a chance to stay where you want to be. And this was where I wanted to be and the time was right."
     
Hoffman had considerable leverage. Three years earlier, Trevor elected to remain a Padre when the Cleveland Indians made a run at the closer during his first chance to be a free agent. And he had become a very popular Padre during a season that produced 53 saves, a 1.48 earned run average and the introduction of Hells Bells.
     
Plus, the Padres desperately wanted one of their marquis players to stay.
     
Hoffman was rewarded with a four-year, $32 million contract that included the first no-trade clause ever for a Padre (although Gwynn had the same right as a 10-year veteran after five seasons with the same team). It was the richest contract ever for a closer at the time.
     
"The Padres understood me, they never asked me to consider giving up the no-trade clause," said Hoffman. "I've thought about how much that meant to me over the years."
     
"It's not easy to pitch under the conditions created by rumors and conjecture of trades. Having the no-trade clause was an extra level of compensation."
     
As Gwynn's career was winding down, Hoffman became something of the junior face of the franchise.
     
"Tony never relinquished that role," said Hoffman.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The passage of the measure to build what became Petco Park will best be remembered as the aftermath of the 1998 season.
     
But there was a flip side.
     
In the wake of winning their second National League pennant and reaching the World Series, the Padres saw considerable negative movement in the off-season.
     
Starting pitcher Kevin Brown signed a record free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Center fielder Steve Finley went to Arizona as a free agent. Ken Caminiti returned to Houston via free agency. Pitcher Mark Langston followed the same route to Cleveland.
     
Slugger Greg Vaughn and key reserve Mark Sweeney were traded to Cincinnati. Pitcher Joey Hamilton was traded to Toronto.
     
Trevor Hoffman, however, wanted no part of leaving the Padres and San Diego. And he didn't want any part of being the subject of trade rumors.
     
"There were a number of things working over that winter leading to the 1999 season, including a bit of fate," Hoffman recalled recently. "I loved it here. Tracy loved it here. We were building a family here. And my side of the family was all in Southern California."
     
"And when I looked around, I saw all this movement of players . . . not just with the Padres but throughout Major League baseball. Then I thought about Tony Gwynn and how he was spending his entire career as a Padre and connecting with the community in so many ways."
     
"I wanted that."
     
So Hoffman approached the Padres with an idea. He wanted a multi-year contract with a no-trade clause.
     
"I benefitted that some of my teammates had left via trades and free agency," said Hoffman. "I didn't want to go and the Padres were interested in having me stay. There are very few times in baseball that you have a chance to stay where you want to be. And this was where I wanted to be and the time was right."
     
Hoffman had considerable leverage. Three years earlier, Trevor elected to remain a Padre when the Cleveland Indians made a run at the closer during his first chance to be a free agent. And he had become a very popular Padre during a season that produced 53 saves, a 1.48 earned run average and the introduction of Hells Bells.
     
Plus, the Padres desperately wanted one of their marquis players to stay.
     
Hoffman was rewarded with a four-year, $32 million contract that included the first no-trade clause ever for a Padre (although Gwynn had the same right as a 10-year veteran after five seasons with the same team). It was the richest contract ever for a closer at the time.
     
"The Padres understood me, they never asked me to consider giving up the no-trade clause," said Hoffman. "I've thought about how much that meant to me over the years."
     
"It's not easy to pitch under the conditions created by rumors and conjecture of trades. Having the no-trade clause was an extra level of compensation."
     
As Gwynn's career was winding down, Hoffman became something of the junior face of the franchise.
     
"Tony never relinquished that role," said Hoffman.

San Diego Padres