© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

12/08/08 9:27 PM EST

Padres think Hoffman could return

All-time saves leader hasn't spoken to GM since offer pulled

LAS VEGAS -- San Diego manager Bud Black said Monday that, in his mind at least, he hasn't ruled out the possibility of closer Trevor Hoffman returning next season.

"Maybe I'm too much of an optimist. I think he can come back. I don't think that bridge has been knocked down," Black said.

San Diego general manager Kevin Towers was equally optimistic that Hoffman would return and surmised that if Jake Peavy isn't traded, Hoffman might be more amendable to returning to the Padres.

"As upset as Trevor is, I think he would keep the door open to coming back," Towers said.

Hoffman, the Major League career saves leader, told MLB.com on Sunday that his chances of returning to San Diego were slim after the Padres pulled their offer of one year and $4 million plus a club option from the table last month.

Hoffman hasn't had any contact since he spoke with Towers last month after the offer had been pulled. San Diego CEO Sandy Alderson has said recently that he would like to sit down and talk with Hoffman.

Hoffman was believed to be in Las Vegas on Monday to talk with New York Mets GM Omar Minaya about their vacancy at closer.

"I'm absolutely open to anything," Hoffman said last month. "National League, American League, just something that's a good fit in a number of arenas. A lot of it is going to depend on what teams come into play."

Hoffman, who has 554 career saves, was 3-6 with a 3.77 ERA and 30 saves in 34 chances last season for the Padres. Last week, the Padres declined to offer Hoffman arbitration.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.