Hoffman set to impart wisdom to upper-level arms
Legendary closer will seek to get youngsters ready for action in the Majors
SAN DIEGO -- As he looks ahead to 2014 and his new role as the Padres' upper-level pitching coordinator, Trevor Hoffman said recently he only feels the slightest twinge of anxiety.
Not so much in tackling a new role, which also includes being a special assistant to general manager Josh Byrnes, but how he's going to tackle the logistical aspect of it -- bouncing between all of the Padres' Minor League affiliates.
In other words, how lonely is that drive on I-10 between Padres' affiliates in El Paso and San Antonio? And, should I fly instead?
"That's the biggest thing, right now -- figuring out how to get from place to place," Hoffman said, laughing. "I'll probably be on the ground with each affiliate for four or five days."
Hoffman, 46, has been a part of the Padres' front office as a special assistant since retiring following the 2010 season. He's learned different aspects of the organization from player development: He also sat in on preparation for the First-Year Player Draft; has been in uniform during Spring Training; and has offered advice to Minor League players in the system during the summer.
But this new role will be far more specialized, as Hoffman will focus more on helping pitchers down on the farm -- particularly at Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso -- and even at the big league level.
"It will be similar to before, where I'm in big league camp and available to the guys," Hoffman said. "I'll go back and forth once Minor League camp starts. It's going to be a great opportunity. There's a little of the unknown, and it's going to be a learning process for me -- like how do I communicate what I'm seeing to them, things like that."
San Diego manager Bud Black, who managed Hoffman in 2007-08, said the role suits the former all-time saves leader and is needed, as the job of watching over the arms in the system has become much bigger than one man can handle.
"This is something that I think is a great thing, because I think it's going to get Trevor more involved on a daily basis," Black said. "He's going to be in contact more with our players, our upper-level pitchers. He will be in contact with our front office. He's going to get [involved with] the big league team. I think it's great.
"It's becoming so specialized. You're talking 75, 80 pitchers in the Minor Leagues, one coordinator and some pitching coaches. To really get accomplished what you want to accomplish, you sort of [need to] divide that responsibility up."
Hoffman has been busy this winter, as well. He's taken part in several of the Padres' charitable endeavors in and around San Diego County.
Hoffman and his wife, Tracy, have established a newly endowed fund of $500,000 with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation to provide funding for children of Marines in Southern California.
"It came from both of our parents being Marines, and we wanted to find a way to be involved," Hoffman said. "The Scholarship Foundation has helped us find these kids."
Before he knows it, Hoffman will be back in Spring Training with the Padres, in a uniform, embracing his new role. He can't wait.
"I'm definitely excited about really being more integrally involved with guys pushing [toward] the big league level," Hoffman said. "... It's about finishing some guys off, filling their toolbox with more information, so that they can reach the Major League level."