When the New York Yankees signed Travis Hafner prior to spring training, they were hoping he would stay healthy and they could catch lightning in a bottle. Through the month of April, the Yankees got more than they could have hoped for from Hafner.
But as the season wore on, Hafner became less and less of a factor in the lineup, and it’s time that the Yankees give Hafner the boot and find a new DH.
After batting .318 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in April, Hafner’s productivity has dropped dramatically. He hit .179 with only two dingers in May and .174 with four long balls in June. Even through the rough time, Yankees manager Joe Girardi continued to stick with him, giving belief that he’s going to turn things around.
But Hafner has yet to turn things around for himself, having collected just eight hits in 51 at-bats this month, hitting .157 with two RBIs. His slugging percentage has dropped largely as the season has progressed, and he’s getting on base much less.
Early in the season, he was one of those players who you could count on to deliver a big hit late in the game. Now you can’t count on him to pick up a hit at all; that’s why it’s time for the Yankees to cut ties with the slugger and find a new designated hitter – preferably one who can hit left-handers.
There are plenty of bats on the market, but the question is whether general manager Brian Cashman will even go after any of these bats or continue to go after low-cost, low-reward players, or if he will even just stick to minor league call-ups.
But payroll restrictions brought on by Yankees’ ownership have limited what Cashman can do, and it’s time that he’s given some freedom to make a move that helps the team win, as well as finding a decent replacement for Hafner.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner needs to make a call and make a call now. Would he rather lose money from luxury tax or lose a shot at a World Series title.
Gavin Ewbank is a writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @GavinEwbank2013.