Travis Hafner: How Slugging DH Could Help NY Yankees

Jim MorisetteCorrespondent IIIFebruary 1, 2013

On Thursday, Andrew Marchand of ESPN reported the New York Yankees acquired veteran slugger Travis Hafner.

From Marchand: "Sources said Hafner, who also can play first base, will receive a one-year, incentive-laden deal."

This pending move may be a head-scratching affair for Yankees fans wanting this team to sign younger, less injury-prone players. But fans who have witnessed the type of damage Hafner can do when healthy may see benefits from this player’s presence in the Yankees lineup.

While fans are correct in pointing out Hafner’s ailments and his lack of production since 2007, this 10-year veteran has enough remaining in the tank to scare opposing pitchers when he strolls to the plate.

Hafner—who is built more like a WWE wrestler than a MLB player—will most likely be the full-time DH for the Yankees, assuming he stays healthy.

With 201 career home runs and a .507 career slugging percentage, Hafner can also bring some serious thunder to the Yankee lineup. A left-handed hitter, Hafner has the capability to plant monster moon shots into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium at any time.

Hafner is one of those players whose contact with the ball sounds like he just knocked the wind out of the poor mass with stitches. But Hafner can also get on base, as reflected in his .381 career OBP

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Placing Hafner back-to-back with Mark Teixeira is a scary thought for other teams in the AL East.

Looking at intangibles, Hafner also appears to be a rock-solid clubhouse guy who may fit in nicely with this Yankees team.

Note: it is unwarranted to oversell Hafner. He is a tough sell who needs to stay healthy to have a steady impact.

However, should Hafner muster a full season, the Yankees may find a steal of a slugger who could hold the fort in the immediate future. 

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