Report: New York Yankees May Be on the Verge of Deal with DH Travis Hafner

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIJanuary 30, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 19: Travis Hafner #48 of the Cleveland Indians reaches first on an error during the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field on September 19, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The designated hitter spot in the lineup is still uninhabited for the New York Yankees, but general manager Brian Cashman may be on the verge of solving that problem.

Robert Bradford of reports that the Yankees may be nearing a deal with free agent Travis Hafner (h/t Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports).

The 11-year veteran has spent all but his rookie season with the Cleveland Indians and was an offensive force from 2004 to 2007.

In that span, he mashed 127 home runs and earned himself the nickname "Pronk."

He has not played a full season since 2007, however. Numerous injuries have derailed his career and now he is looking to latch onto a team with a one-year deal in hopes of reestablishing his value.

On a one-year deal with incentives built in, this would be a good low-risk, high-reward signing for Cashman.

Hafner should be able to take advantage of the short right field in Yankee Stadium as a left-handed hitter and could see a boost in his power numbers.

Pronk will only be asked to hit—he hasn't played an inning in the field since 2007—and he likely won't even be asked to play everyday. Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira may see some time at DH in 2013, as could Alex Rodriguez if he ever finds his way back onto the field again.

Best-case scenario has Hafner hitting 20 home runs with a .260 or so batting average in the bottom third of the Yankees lineup.

Worst-case scenario? The Yankees cut ties with him during spring training or in the month of April if it turns out to be a failed experiment.

If Bradford is indeed correct about the near-deal between the two parties, it represents a smart move by Cashman.