Hoffman was an invaluable piece of the Phillies' bullpen this season. The former first-round pick has had an inconsistent career, however, and has bounced around from team to team. He has a career 5.26 ERA and was signed to a minor league deal by the Phillies in April of 2023. A month later, Hoffman had the choice to opt out of his deal and seek a major league contract elsewhere if the Phillies did not add him to the 26-man roster. They did, and it worked out well for both parties.
The hard-throwing right-hander had a career year in 2023. Over 52 1/3 innings, Hoffman posted a 2.41 ERA and struck out 69 hitters. So why should the Phillies take a chance on a guy who has really only had a flash of success in the big leagues?
The biggest reason is the increase in velocity that Hoffman displayed in 2023. He added about 3 mph on his four-seamer from last season. The 30-year-old attributed his higher velocity to his recent success, per Matt Gelb of The Athletic.
“The sharpness of the breaking ball, that all comes with added velocity too,” Hoffman said. "When you add velocity, you’re spinning it better. When you spin it better, the seams can grab better.”
If Hoffman can maintain his newfound velocity, he'll likely continue to pitch quality innings. The Phillies relied on him for much of the season and the postseason. The Phillies' reliever has accrued just over five years of MLB service time. He has one more year of arbitration and then would become a free agent after the 2024 season.
Hoffman made $1.3 million in 2023 and will likely see a raise to somewhere in the $2-3 million range for next season. If he performs well, he'll become that much more expensive as he hits free agency.
The Phillies could offer Hoffman a two-year deal that pays around $4-5 million per year. It would be a bit of an overpay for 2024, but could be a bargain for 2025.