You can officially add another name to the list of possible DH candidates for the New York Yankees this upcoming season. The team has come to an agreement with former Cleveland Indians DH Travis Hafner on a one-year deal worth approximately $2 million. It is a major league deal for Hafner, meaning he is guaranteed a spot on the 25 man roster.
Hafner has spent all but one of his years with the Indians. After debuting for the Texas Rangers in 23 games in 2002, the man nicknamed “Pronk” was traded to the Indians in the winter of 2002. He went on to appear in 1078 games for the Indians in 10 seasons, hitting 200 home runs and driving in 688 runs. His best seasons came from 2004-2007 when he drove in over 100 runs and hit no less than 25 home runs in each season. He enjoyed his career year in 2006 when he hit 42 home runs and drove in 117 runs while leading the American League in slugging percentage (.659), OPS (1.097) and OPS+ (181). However, he’s had issues staying healthy the last five seasons, failing to appear in 100 games in four of those years. In 66 games last season, he posted a lowly .228 average but a modest .346 on-base percentage with 12 home runs and 34 RBI.
Hafner joins a group that consist of the recently signed Juan Rivera, Matt Diaz, Russ Canzler and Eduardo Nunez who will compete for DH at bats for the Yankees. Being the only left-handed hitter of the group, he should see the majority of DH duties against right-handed pitching. For his career, Hafner has hit righties to a tune of a .287 average with 152 home runs and 480 RBI in 3,099 plate appearances.