The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 Yankees interested in Hafner for vacant DH role

NEW YORK—The Yankees have expressed interest in free-agent slugger Travis Hafner, as the club is looking toward the remaining late-winter options for its designated hitter slot.

Hafner, 35, batted .228 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs in 64 games for the Indians last season, and is among a group of players the Yankees are looking at to serve in a DH role.

Cleveland cut ties with Hafner in October, choosing to pay the left-handed hitter a $2.75 million buyout instead of a $13 million option for the 2013 season, but the Indians and Hafner are believed to have remained in contact.

Hafner, the owner of 201 home runs over 11 seasons, has not played the field in a big league game since 2007. As a full-time DH with the Yankees, he would essentially fill the role envisioned last season for Raul Ibanez.

Hafner hasn’t been able to stay healthy and he can’t play defense at all, but the Yankees could use a lefty DH and he’s about as good of an option as any that would be available on their terms.  He’s not the power hitter that led the AL in OPS+ a few years back but he still projects to get on base at a good clip and may be well-positioned to take advantage of a disgraceful bandbox.  Here are his CAIRO percentile forecasts in said disgraceful bandbox.

80% 372 323 44 94 20 2 18 58 3 0 47 63 4 10 .291 .407 .539 .414 67 18
65% 341 296 38 81 17 1 15 49 2 0 40 62 5 8 .275 .381 .494 .383 54 10
Baseline 310 269 31 70 13 1 12 42 1 0 34 60 6 6 .260 .354 .449 .353 42 2
35% 279 242 26 59 10 0 9 35 1 1 28 58 6 4 .244 .327 .404 .322 32 -4
20% 248 215 21 49 8 0 7 28 0 1 22 54 7 3 .229 .300 .359 .291 23 -9

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

If he can stay healthy, he probably gets a few more than those 310 baseline PAs.  Here are his projected platoon splits for wOBA.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .375 .416
65% .351 .390
Baseline .328 .364
35% .304 .338
20% .280 .311

I have no idea who the Yankees would use at DH if they don’t sign Hafner.  The best option is probably Russ Canzler who projects to have a wOBA of .315 vs RHP.  Over 400 PA, the difference between that .315 wOBA and Hafner’s .364 projection vs. RHP would be worth close to 17 runs. 

I’d like to see them sign Hafner but keep Canzler as well since he has more positional flexibility (as in more than none).  I’m not sure the Yankees will do that though.  But I’d be cool with Pronk for one year in the $5M area.

--Posted at 1:45 pm by SG / 16 Comments | - (0)


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Would be a solid replacement for Shockmaster (more upside, more injury risk).

I love the idea of signing him. Has a solid chance of being the best hitter of the team against RHP and can’t play defense so there’s no risk of having another Ibanez in LF regulary

[0] Yeah Hafner would be great.  I think early in the year they’ll keep Canzler as well.  If they keep 12 pitchers, they’d have Canzler/Pronk as DH’s (w/ Canzler also filling in at 4 corners), Nunez or Nix as UIF, a backup C (probably Stewart), and probably Mesa as RH OF.  That’s not bad.

[2] I think Cano will almost definitely be the top hitter against RHP.  Hafner would go up against Granderson as #2, with Teix being a dark-horse #2 candidate.

Yeah, nothing against Nix at all, but if it’s between him and Canzler, think you have to go with the latter. David Adams could probably mirror Nix if Hafner goes down and they want another infielder on the roster.

A paean to Freddy Garcia, and not for his ability to buy drinks: The Value of Broken Starters.

In lieu of Nick Johnson, who decided to retire

Which of us will be first with the Pronk jersey?

The Coen brothers next film is loosely based on Dave Von Pronk.

[4] Nix and Canzler aren’t battling for the same position.  Canzler’s role would be RH bat against lefties.  Either as a DH or corner OF.  Him being able to handle 1B/3B is a bonus; if Youkilis were to go down Canzler would probably play 3rd against righties.  Nix is in the battle for UIF, somoene who can play SS.  That battle is between he and Nunez at this point.  In the case of Youkilis going down I think Canzler would likely still DH against lefties and Nix/Nunez would play 3rd.

Yeah, Canzler can’t play SS or 2B.  It’s going to be Nixy or Nun-E as the backup IF as Mike says.

[11] Since it now looks likely they’d sign Hafner…what do we think makes Yankees like an 89 win team now?

I don’t think we can assume they’ll get more than 300-350 PA out of Hafner, which is probably only going to make them about a win better.  So 88 I think.

[12] Thanks.  Still, a win’s a win, and that would put them tied with the Rays (or maybe ahead since that win could come at their expense) for 2nd WC.

The previous thread has 32 comments.  The one before that has 64.  We need two more here, and the PTB should delete someone’s (say, SnuF’s) comments from the following.

I’m glad someone else has an unnecessary appreciation of geometric sequences.

Deal with Hafner done for $2M base apparently…(done for you rilke)

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