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 Raul Ibanez took a stranglehold over last year.
If that’s the case, prepare for Hafner to hit a couple of huge homeruns late in the year.
Hafner is not the player that he used to, but that is not why the Yankees signed him. The 35-year old will be a lefty bat off of the bench that will start as the DH from time to time. If he can stay healthy (which has been a problem over the years) he will grow to love the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium.
One thing is for sure; Hafner will be brought in for his pop. At 6’3” and 240 pounds, Hafner will not be asked to play too much in the field but may occasionally relieve Mark Texiera at first. During the peak of his career (2004-2007), Hafner hit a total of 127 homeruns including a career high 42 in 2005.
Hafner’s production declined after he signed a four year, $57 million contract extension during the 2007 season. From 2008-2012, he only played in only 429 games out of a possible 810. During those years his batting average was only .251 which was 47 points lower than his average during the 2004-2007 seasons.
But this is not the first time the Yankees have taken a guy who was presumably “done” and resurrected his career. Just look back at the last few seasons. Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones and Ibanez all came to the Yankees after other teams gave up on them and all three were productive members of the team.
Chavez and Ibanez used their time with the Yankees to get deals with other teams this year (the Diamondbacks and the Mariners respectively.
Even in this role, Hafner’s production should go up this year with the Yankees. Besides playing in Yankee Stadium, the Yankees still possess a lineup with a lot of big bats throughout. There will be no pressure for Hafner to produce everyday and that will be a benefit for him.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Hafner is not going to be a guy that is going to lead this team to the playoffs. The Yankees have been quiet this off-season which is different from their standard high spending, but A-Rod’s contract is making the Yankees change their philosophy. Besides signing Kevin Youkilis to play third this year while Rodriguez is out, getting Hafner has been their only other significant signing.
He may not be a game-changer, but Hafner should fill this role perfectly. Instead of batting third or fourth, he will now be towards the bottom to the lineup when he is in. He can’t be expected to be the MVP of the 2013 season, but expect Hafner to be the latest guy to resurrect his career in pinstripes.
Follow us on Twitter – @NYSportskings
Contributor – Dave Ragazzo – @Dragazzo_Sports
The post Travis Hafner Will Be the Latest Vet to Revive Career With The Yankees appeared first on New York Sports Kings.