Re-Sign or Let Him Walk: Travis Hafner
After spending 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Travis Hafner joined the New York Yankees on a one-year deal at the beginning of Spring Training. The Yankees had already known of his extensive injury history, but they took the chance on him anyway.
Hafner hit well for the Yankees out of the gate, blasting 6 homeruns — including a three-run homerun in his first at-bat back in Cleveland when the Bombers visited in mid-April — while driving in 17 runs, and batting a more than expected .318. But he completely fell off the map for the rest of the season once the calendar turned to May.
From there, he hit under .180 in in every month for the rest of the season, and the walks went down, while he was starting to get less at-bats each month.He was quickly going from starting as the DH a few times a week to getting more pinch-hitting duty mixed in. When the Yankees’ offense went cold about halfway through May, Hafner’s bat went with it.
The aforementioned injuries began to bother him, with shoulder issues popping up in late-July. The injury caused him to miss all of August and almost all of September, playing in the late just the Yankees’ final game of the season in Houston.
Decision: There’s no reason to keep him, so let him walk. Like I said, he was great in April, and then spiraled down fro there. He couldn’t play the field because of thee injury reasons, and being limited to only the DH role didn’t help the Yankee very much. As mentioned, injuries were a concern coming into the season, and they ended up being a problem. He’s not worth re-signing, and with the four outfielders the Yankees are expected to have next season — and it’s likely that Derek Jeter will spend some time DHing in 2014 — the Yanks won’t miss his bat, and he won’t be remembered for very long.
Gavin Ewbank covers the Yankees for Baseball Hot Corner. Follow him on Twitter, @GavinEwbank2013.