Found February 01, 2013 on
Waiting For Next Year:
New York Yankees
Travis Hafner…Travis Hafner….Travis Hafner…. adios my friend. Twitter was abuzz yesterday when word came down that our old friend Pronk had finally found a home. I fully expected him to end up in either Oakland or Tampa Bay, considering their recent history of DH’s. But instead, Hafner will sign a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the New York Yankees.
The New York Yankees?
Yes, that same franchise that has 27 World Series titles is continuing their collection of past their prime, mid to late thirties, big bats. They are like The Duke’s – trying to corner the market. But unlike in the classic movie Trading Places, nobody wants to “get in on it.”
No George Costanza is not behind this move. GM Brian Cashman has signed off on this one himself. I’m not sure what it is about the Indians that Cashman is so enamored with, but between Hafner, Russ Canzler, Thomas Neal, and Jerad Head, Cashman is collecting Tribe scraps. You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The Yankees had a need for a left-handed designated hitter and it took them until the last day in January to make a signing. They have moved on from Raul Ibanez and are taking a flier on a 35-year old who hasn’t played in more than 118 games in five years and in four of these five seasons, he hasn’t made it to triple digits.
I know the Tribe still would like to add another bat, preferably one who hits from the left side. I also know some of you Tribe fans would have loved a Pronk reunion tour, but let’s be honest here. It’s time to move on. It was time to move on before last season, but the Tribe still was on the hook for his $13 million salary. Nobody wanted him at the trade deadline because, naturally, Hafner wasn’t healthy.
Pronk’s inability to stay in the lineup is one of many reasons the Indians did not bring him back. His shoulder is an issue. His elbow is an issue. His back is an issue. All of these various ailments have sapped him of his power. I know he has slugged over .440 in four of the past five seasons, but his statistics with runners on base (.161/.265/.533) and runners in scoring position (.128/.237/.404) in 2012 – his contract year, were career worsts and atrocious.
Hafner certainly had his moments here – The walk-off RBI single in Game Two of the 2007 ALDS against the Yankees and his walkoff homer against Toronto in 2011 when the Tribe trailed 4-0 heading into the ninth come to mind. Click here for perhaps Tommy Hamilton’s greatest call as an Indians play by play man.
To a man, everyone will tell you they love Travis Hafner, the person. He’s a bumpkin of sorts, a nice, sort of unworldly and naive type. He is Mr. WWE. Since Victor Martinez was sent to Boston, there has been a void in the clubhouse leadership department in Cleveland. Hafner was the most senior of all Tribe players, yet he never stepped forward. It’s just not in his nature to be that guy, and that is OK. But the 2013 Cleveland Indians are still a young team looking for a veteran to take the lead.
Nick Swisher is here and he has been a great clubhouse presence in his previous stops. He has never had the chance to be “the man,” and the excitement he has shown in his press conference and subsequent interviews illustrates he is ready to step forward as that leader. But there needs to be more.
Terry Francona knows this. He would love another seasoned veteran and respected voice to come on board to potentially take some of those DH at bats. However, he clearly had no interest in dusting off ole’ Pronk for another go ’round. Make no mistake, Francona has a major say in his roster, and if he thought Hafner was the guy, he’d have been re-signed by now. Instead, Travis is headed to the Bronx.
My man Jon Steiner, our resident sabermetrician, says the Indians absolutely cannot go into the season without another bat to man at least a portion of the DH spot. He is not down with a full-time “Aviles Plan” the way I am. He was a Pronk Proponent. So now that Hafner is off the board, if the Indians feel as though they have to add another stick, there is only one place to turn.
There is a left-handed, veteran power bat out there. He is a known clubhouse leader and one of the most respected players in the game. He is a man who grew up in the Indians organization, gets what the city is all about, and would be a draw to the nostalgic-for-the-90s fan base.
You know who I am talking about. Number 25. Jim Thome.
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AROUND THE WEB
While he was rumored to be in the mix for the Cleveland Indians’ vacant designated hitter job, it appears that long-time Tribe slugger Travis Hafner could be rocking a half-buttoned pinstrip jersey for 2013.
#yankees are talking travis hafner (as @bradfo said), as well as others.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 30, 2013
Hearing #Yankees might be close to deal with Travis...
Reports are out that the New York Yankees could be close to a deal to sign Indians D.N. Travis Hafner. Why would the Yankees want Hafner. The guy spends more time in the D.L. than anyone I know other than Grady Sizemore. Hafner would make a big buck for the Yankees and bring a small return to the team in the big apple. Hafner played in only 66 games last year and hit only 12 home...
From Yankees.com: The Yankees on Friday finalized a one-year contract with free-agent slugger Travis Hafner, who is expected to help fill the club's designated hitter slot for the 2013 season.
Hafner, 35, batted .228 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs in 64 games for the Indians last season. Cleveland cut ties with Hafner in October, choosing to pay the left-handed hitter a $2...
The Yankees, moving to fill their need for a left-handed designated hitter, are close to signing Travis Hafner, according to a major-league source.
The deal is expected to include a low base salary in the $1 million to $2 million range, plus an incentive package, the source said.
Hafner, 35, batted .228 in 66 games for the Cleveland Indians last season, but with a .784 OPS. He...
The Yankees are speaking with the agent for free agent Travis Hafner and may try to sign the 35-year-old to compete for time as a left-handed designated hitter.
Hafner spent the past decade with Cleveland and hit .228 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs last year. He would take over a role filled last year by Raul Ibanez, who left the Yankees to sign with Seattle.
Because of knee and back...
So is anyone sick of talking about Alex Rodriguez yet?
Since the answer to that question is probably yes, here is some more Yankee news that should interest fans. On Thursday, the Yankees and former Cleveland Indian Travis Hafner agreed to a one year deal worth about $2 million which could turn to $4 million based on plate appearances. Hafner is expected to fill the role that...
As of this writing, it sounds like Travis Hafner is going to sign a contract with the Yankees, after (surprise!) Cleveland turned down his $13 million club option for 2013. Pronk Bars are a distant memory, but Hafner still has his uses. For all of criticism he has received because of his play (or lack thereof) relative to his contract in Cleveland, Hafner has actually been a pretty...
The New York Yankees have agreed to sign designated hitter Travis Hafner, according to a Journal News report. The deal will be announced the contract language has been finalized. Terms of the deal weren't known. Hafner will serve as the designated hitter against right-handed pitchers. He has a career batting average of .287 vs. righties. Injuries have limited the 35-year...
The New York Yankees and free agent Travis Hafner have a deal in place, according to Chad Jennings of the Journal News. Jennings expects an official announcement to come within the next 24 hours.
Hafner, 35, hit just .228 last year with 12 homers for the Indians and has had health issues in each of the last five seasons. However, his price tag is cheap, and he could put up some...
To make room for newly-acquired slugger Travis Hafner, the Yankees designated outfielder Russ Canzler for assignment. Canzler is no stranger to being DFA’d. After spending last season with the Cleveland Indians, Canzler was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays in December, reclaimed by the Tribe in January, and finally claimed by the Yankees two weeks after that. Now he is on the loose...
OK, OK, stopping spitting, it was just an idea: If events transpired to keep A-Rod from returning, as the Yankees seem to be encouraging in full-throated bliss, one instinctive option would be to move Jeter to the less stressful 3B position. Youkilis would become our DH, and we'd simply need Chico Escuela - the incarnate good-field/no hit infielder - to play SS. Made sense to...
Supposedly, the Yankees are on the verge of signing Travis "Pronk" Hafner - the former Cleveland DH who Miguel Cabreraed us once, long long ago, in a galaxy far far away -- a strikeout/home run guy who hasn't done Steve Whitaker in the last two years.And you thought we learned from Andruw Jones? (Insert sigh here.)Listen: I have no truck with Brian Cashman jiggling...
Both the Yankees and Red Sox added veteran bats to their roster yesterday, as Travis Hafner and New York agreed to a one-year deal worth $2 million, while the Red Sox inked first baseman Lyle Overbay to a minor league deal with an invite to Big League Spring Training. Were these two moves linked to one another, like the old days? That’s doubtful, but it was a good way to start...
Three former Indians players Omar Vizquel, Travis Hafner, and Ryan Garko all found new homes with a team for 2013, but none of them are returning to Cleveland. Vizquel will coach with the Angles, Hafner looks to be close to signing with the Yankees, and Garko has signed with the Rockies.