I doubt he'll win, but his case is actually pretty good without anyone close to winning 20 games this year.
SAN FRANCISCO -- He is not totally objective, of course, but Padres general manager Kevin Towers thinks he can make a reasonable and persuasive case for Trevor Hoffman as a serious candidate for the National League's 2006 Cy Young Award.
"The Cy Young is for what a guy does for his ballclub," Towers said, "and who's done more for his ballclub in the National League than Trevor? Where are we without him?"
With Hoffman and his league-leading 37 saves and 1.87 ERA in 55 games, the Padres came into a weekend series with the Giants a half-game behind Los Angeles in the NL West while leading the Wild Card chase by 2 1/2 games over a deep field.
"You never hear his name mentioned nationally with the Cy Young candidates," Towers said. "What does Trevor have to do?
"There aren't any starters having huge seasons. I don't see any dominant candidates there. Why not consider a closer? Not only is he having a great season -- he's on his way to breaking the all-time saves record. Wouldn't it be kind of fitting to see him win the Cy Young and get that record in that same season?"
Through Thursday, Los Angeles' Brad Penny was leading the league with 15 wins, and 2005 Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter of St. Louis had a league-leading 2.97 ERA and 13 wins. Arizona's Brandon Webb has 14 wins and a 3.14 ERA. The Mets' Billy Wagner is second to Hoffman in saves with 35.
Hoffman, with 473 career saves, trails Lee Smith by five. His .902 save percentage is slightly better than the .895 he brought into the season. He endured one rough two-week stretch ending July 27 when he blew a save at Colorado. Since then, he has been flawless across 14 outings, giving up nine hits and two walks while striking out 12 in 13 1/3 innings.
Hoffman's best finish in a Cy Young race was 1998 when he ran second to Atlanta's Tom Glavine. In his finest season statistically, Hoffman saved a career-high 53 games to lead the league and placed seventh in the Most Valuable Player balloting.
"I don't get a lot of national attention," Hoffman said, "but that probably works to my favor. I don't worry much about awards, that kind of thing."
"Trevor keeps showing why he's a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher," manager Bruce Bochy said.
A Cy Young would brighten that Cooperstown resume.
"Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." - Willie Stargell on Sandy Koufax