Hall Of Fame Flashback: Reds Sorry To Lose Hoffman In Expansion Draft

This article first appeared in the Dec. 25, 1992 edition of Baseball America.

CINCINNATI—After waiting seven hours to lose three players in the expansion draft, the Reds were sufficiently aware of the damage to render an immediate judgment. Were they disappointed? A little. Devastated? Hardly.

The Reds lost righthander Trevor Hoffman to Florida and shortstop Freddie Benavides and righthander Mo Sanford to Colorado. General manager Jim Bowden said it could have been worse.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed to lose a pitcher with Trevor’s potential,” Bowden said. “He can throw 93-94 mph, and he has great makeup. You hate to lose any prospect. But as far as the Reds go in 1993, we don’t think that pick will have much of an effect. We thought Trevor needed another year in Triple-A, and we were projecting him as a September callup.”

Hoffman, brother of former major league shortstop Glenn Hoffman, saved his career when he made the transition from shortstop to pitcher in 1991. He went 4-6, 4.27 with six saves for Triple-A Nashville in ’92. Predraft speculation focused on the Reds Losing either Hoffman or lefthanded starter Chris Hammond. The Rockies reportedly were interested in drafting Hammond, but missed out on the chance when the Marlins picked Hoffman with their fourth pick in the first round.

The Reds immediately pulled back Hammond and fellow righthanders Bobby Ayala and Steve Foster. Colorado picked Benavides in the second round, and the Reds included pitching prospects Mike Ferry and Larry Luebbers in their second round of pullbacks.

“What scared me was losing a young pitcher in the second round,” Bowden said. “I’ll be honest with you. I’m very pleased that we didn’t lose more young pitching.”

The Marlins envision Hoffman as a potential closer, but he’ll have a chance to break in gradually. Florida stocked up on relief pitching in the draft, with Bryan Harvey, Cris Carpenter and Jim Corsi.

“I come from a situation where Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton have been ahead of me,” Hoffman said, “so it might be a lateral move from that standpoint. I was watching the draft on TV with my dad, and I never thought there’d be this kind of outcome.”

Hoffman had ranked as the Reds No. 8 prospect entering the 1992 season. Here is his ranking and report from Allan Simpson in the Feb. 10, 1992 issue of Baseball America.

8. TREVOR HOFFMAN, RHP 24, R-R, 6-0, 195, Arizona, 1989 (11)

A career .227 hitter, Hoffman was on the verge of being released by the Reds after the 1990 season. He was spared only by Jim Lett, his manager at Charleston, who suggested that Hoffman be given one last chance—as a pitcher. Voila! Hoffman always had terrific arm strength, but the Reds never envisioned he would adapt to pitching almost overnight. He showed rare command for someone who hadn’t pitched in years, consistently throwing first-pitch strikes and dominating hitters at Cedar Rapids with a fastball clocked up to 95 mph. Hoffman has progressed so fast that some in the organization believe he has a chance to crack the big league staff in a setup role out of spring training.

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