The Cleveland Indians are in search of a designated hitter. Mark Reynolds could DH for the Cleveland Indians, but the club is going to let him wear a glove and stand near first base. The Cleveland Indians had a DH in Travis Hafner, but they declined his option for 2013. The Cleveland Indians are reportedly considering signing Jim Thome or, get this, Travis Hafner to fill their need for a DH.
Jon Heyman reports that the club could look to one of these two familiar faces to pick up some at-bats next season. The problem with this thinking, of course, is that neither Thome or Hafner could accurately be referred to as an everyday player at this point in their respective careers. Furthermore, neither player offers an ounce of versatility. Thome, who made a handful of appearances at first base in 2012 but has not played the position on a regular basis since 2005, made 186 plate appearances last season. He hit .252/.344/.442 with eight home runs with the Phillies and Orioles. I love Jim-Jam, you love Jim-Jam, we all love Jim-Jam, but signing Jim-Jam right now would be little more than a nod to nostalgia by the Indians.
Travis Hafner has not appeared in a Major League Baseball game as a position player since 2007. I repeat, Travis Hafner has not appeared in a Major League Baseball game as a position player since 2007.
For a club that currently boasts Yan Gomes among its depth guys, signing a bat deep in the throes of decline may best served as a ‘minor league deal with an invite to spring training’ type move than anything else. Hafner has been a perpetual disappointment since he strung together three consecutive seasons worth at least 4.5 (fWar) wins or more from 2004-to-2006. “Pronk” has exceeded 400-plate appearances just once since 2007, missing significant chunks of games with ailments to just about every body part on his immense frame. He hit .228/.346/.438 with 12 home runs in 263 plate appearances last season.
The Cleveland Indians should keep looking for options at DH.