After saving 37 games for the Brewers in 2009, Trevor Hoffman began the 2010 season just nine saves away from being the first closer to reach 600. Halfway through the season, Hoffman stands at 596 for his career and has not pitched in a save opportunity in more than a month. And there’s been no indication that this will change anytime soon.

The Brewers handling of Trevor Hoffman has become a disgrace.

It’s become a sad situation to watch in Milwaukee. Don’t get me wrong, Hoffman has been horrendous this year. It’s easily his worst season of his career at a time when it was destined to be one of his most memorable years with the 600-plateau accomplishment. Hoffman blew five saves by mid-May. He’s 2-4 with an 8.04 ERA in 28.o IP of work this season. After blowing a save on May 18 to the Reds when he allowed three runs while not recording an out, Trevor has been relegated to mop up work as a reliever while John Axford took over closer duties. Hoffman’s last appearance was a scoreless inning Friday night in a 9-3 win over the Braves.

What I don’t get is how the Brewers are handling this situation. Management has a save count board put up at Miller Park, but the thing continues to sit at 596 while Hoffman does not get opportunities. I agree that they needed to let someone else close for a while, but at least throw him the occasional opportunity. Let him get four more saves sometime this season, and then he can make the retirement decision in the offseason after he’s hit the accomplishment. I think he’s earned that much.

The Brewers aren’t exactly going anywhere this year with a record of 42-51 and rumors of Corey Hart, Prince Fielder and others being traded away any day continue to swirl around Wisconsin. A perfect example of what I’m talking about happened the weekend before the All-Star break with the Pirates in town. The Brewers held a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the ninth and brought Axford on to close the Buccos down. Why not throw Hoffman against the lowly Pirates, who managed six hits in the previous eight innings? If you aren’t going to give him a chance to close a game against the Pirates, when exactly are you going to throw him…if ever?

The coaches continue to say publicly that he could return as the closer at anytime. Brewers manager Ken Macha had this to say on June 23:

“I certainly would like Trevor to reach his goal, and (if) that’s getting 600, we’d like to get that done for him,” Macha said. “Or 610, or whatever he wants.”

That was on June 23. Pretty much a month ago. Hoffman has had zero opportunities since that time. Yeah right, Ken. This situation has become a disgrace for Hoffman.

He’s basically a $7.5 million liability of a middle reliever for the Brew Crew. If you really aren’t going to give him any more chances to reach 600 then just trade him or cut him to give him the opportunity to do it elsewhere. It would be a less than stellar parting from the team, but this situation is already a mess. It’s almost like the Brewers front office is waiting for Hoffman to make the first move and say, “Hey, I quit if I’m not going to get to pitch, or trade me to another team that will use me.”

Hoffman is the type of guy that may never say that to management and so we sit here and wait. It’s a shame to see a great career like Hoffman’s go down this road in his final chapter. Even if he finally hits the mark in Milwaukee, he probably already has the “no one wants me here” feeling and if he doesn’t and they hold onto him until the end of the season, it could get very ugly. I just have the feeling that this situation is going to get worse before it gets good again.

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