Jobu Welcomes the Yankees new DH, former Indian Travis Hafner.
The stupid Patriots have a Gronk, and now it looks like the Yankees might have landed themselves a Pronk. Would I have like this deal more six years ago? Yes. Is Pronk going to get hurt a month into the season? Probably. But hey. It’s better than nothing. Welcome to the Yankees, Travis Hafner. Let the unrealistic hopes and dreams begin!
Late last February, the Yankees signed Raúl Ibañez to a one year deal to be their Designated Hitter. After a pretty solid season and a lot of late-inning heroics in September and October, Ibañez chose to leave for a one year deal with the Seattle Mariners. Or maybe the Yankees just let him walk away. I’m not actually sure if Cashman’s even been in his office this off-season. Anywho, this year it took them a little less time to hire their over-the-hill, injury prone designated hitter. Here’s hoping for some similar results from Travis Hafner.
On paper, Hafner really fits into this lineup. Cashman has often said he’s built a team full of left handed “hairy monsters” that mash the ball over the fence. This is what Hafner does. He’s 6’3″, 240 lbs of monster mash. That short porch at the New Yankees Stadium is begging for him to him baseballs over it. On top of that, the guy knows how to get on base. In his Prime, Pronk (a nickname he got from former teammate Bill Selby) was a guy that could hit around .300 with 35-40 homers (42 career high), 100+ RBI and 100 walks to boot. He fits the Yankees mold perfectly. A lefty masher who gets on base. Unfortunately, He’s about five years removed from his last impactful season.
Just A Taste of Pronk:
Over the past five years, Hafner has barely even managed to stay on the field, playing 118 games in 2010, but not managing more than 94 in any other season. Last year, he only played in 66 games. He’s also 35 years old now. The likeliness that he’ll be able to rebound and stay healthy over the course of an entire year is getting lower and lower every season. In those 66 games in 2012, he hit .228/.346/.438 with 12 home runs and 34 RBI in just 212 ABs. Spread out over a 600 at bat season, that’s somewhere around 30 home runs and 90-100 RBI. Good ratios… bad total numbers.
So here’s the part where we start getting hopeful… What if, at 35 years of age (36 in June), he has one of those magical swan song seasons? What if he somehow does stay healthy? Why, if he could hit .250, he might end up with 30 home runs! At Yankees stadium, that could end up being closer to 40! Not only that, but he’ll be on base all the time! Think of how many runs that will create for the team! Hey, Ibañez stayed healthy all season, and he was even forced to play the field. Hafner will never have to play the field because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know how to. He’s got a much better chance to stay healthy… right? RIGHT???
Realistically, Hafner’s going to end up playing like 90 games at most. That being said, I’d rather have 90 games of Hafner than some of the other jokers the Yankees are bringing to Spring Training this year. I know Dan Johnson, aka “The Great Pumpkin” (he comes out once a year to do something amazing) is invited to camp, but I definitely feel better about the team knowing Hafner will be on it. It’s not like there’s any superstars out there to sign or trade for. His $2 MM plus incentives salary won’t break the bank either. I’m going to be on the positive side for this guy… maybe we’ll all end up pleasantly surprised.
Featured image courtesy of: John Grieshop/Getty Images
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