Indians considering reunion with Hafner and Thome
January 23, 2013
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Cleveland Indians are considering a reunion with former Indians sluggers Travis Hafner and Jim Thome.
The IBI first mentioned the Thome possibility last week and that a contract was discussed. The Indians have kept the door open on Hafner all offseason, but his price tag is higher than Thome's and the Indians have little if any wiggle room with their payroll at the moment.
The Indians are looking to add one more bat to help shore up their bench and potentially help fill their designated hitter void. The Indians likely won't have a full-time designated hitter, but there are some interesting options still left in free agency that could fill the role on a part-time basis. Having a bat like Thome, Hafner or someone else as the regular designated hitter but playing about half the time (350 plate appearances) would mesh well with their need to have flexibility at the position so they can rest regulars and get other bench players regular playing time.
Heyman also noted that the Indians have no interest at this time of bringing back Manny Ramirez.
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To my knowledge, Thome is NO longer an option in the field either; I can't remember the last time he played 1B. While Hafner has the arthritic elbow, Thome has the bad back, and is 42 (43 in Sept.), so there's no better chance for him to see the field than there is for Hafner.
With both, they're here for their bats as the DH - that's it. Ramirez, if he were on the table, probably could play a little in the OF (whether you want him to play in the OF is another question, especially since every other player, except maybe Raburn, would be better than Ramirez defensively).
Hafner is obviously the better bat, but is Thome still capable of playing 2 or 3 innings at 1B every week or 2? if so that gives him a big advantage. It seems like there were many games last year where we could have won the game if Hafner could have filled in at 1B in late inning situations.
There little chance that either of these players ever see 300 PAs again. Why does anybody want to sign a player who can't give them at least a half a season?
I guess I just can't say I agree that Raburn is a better hitter than Carrera. More ML experience obviously, but he's been terrible for his last 600+ plate appearances. Also, Raburn is a perennial slow starter. He has a career .641 first half OPS compared to a career .834 second half OPS. That's a pretty substantial difference. Why not let him start the year in Columbus, regain some confidence and if one of our other bench options is struggling and/or an injury occurs, use him later in the year?
McGuiness is far from a lock. In fact, I think right now his chances are remote to make the team. Remember, over 75% of Rule 5 picks are sent back to their original teams by the end of spring training. He will need to have a very good camp to stick.
With Mcguiness, I figured he's basically a lock to start the year because he's a Rule 5 guy. They can start Gomes in Columbus without risk of losing him. Having Marson, Aviles, McGuiness, and Carrera (plus a Thome/Hafner type) on the bench would give us great balance and versatility.
Aviles is RH utility infielder
Marson RH backup catcher
McGuiness LH 1B/LF
Carrera LH OF
Thome/Hafner LH DH
I don't see Raburn or Francisco as an upgrade over any of those guys in terms of value.