Following up on a report yesterday regarding a nearing deal with free-agent Travis Hafner, Chad Jennings of The Journal News is reporting that the Yankees have the logistics in place for a deal, however are just finalizing some contract specifics,
“No dollar figure has been confirmed, though it’s believed to be close to the one-year, $1.1 million given to Raul Ibanez around this time last winter.”
According to Jennings, the Yankees plan to primarily use Hafner in the designated hitter slot against right-handed pitching. While he does have some experience playing first base, it's highly unlikely he will spell first baseman Mark Teixeira, as Hafner has been plagued with the injury bug over the last few seasons. Furthermore, he hasn't handled any defensive responsibilities since 2007.
Needless to say, with spring training around the corner and an edict for reduced payroll being implemented by Hal Steinbrenner, a one-year deal for an experienced bat such as Hafner is a nice bargain signing this late in the offseason. Despite only hitting 12 home runs in 66 games during an injury riddled 2012 season, the left-hander affectionately known as "Pronk" is a career .278 hitter with a career on-base percentage of .381. Moreover, he carries equally impressive career numbers against right-handed pitching.
Hafner's diligence and capability of hitting for power should blend in nicely with a traditionally disciplined Yankees lineup. In addition, the lure of the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium should help rejuvenate the veteran.
Courtesy of MLB.com, one of the highlights of an aforementioned injury-riddled 2012 for Hafner, a tying two-run home run off of Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy on October 2.
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