After missing the past three games with a back injury Travis Hafner is headed to the disabled list for the second time this season, as the Indians placed the designated hitter on the shelf and filled his roster spot with infielder Jason Donald.
Hafner spent all of June on the DL following knee surgery and has hit just .238 since returning, although he did show good power with five homers in 69 at-bats.
Hafner remains a productive hitter at age 35, sporting an OPS above .800 for the fourth straight season, but he simply can’t stay in the lineup at this point while playing 57, 94, 118, 94 and now 60 games in the past five seasons.
Earlier this offseason the Rays traded away franchise player Evan Longoria. Over the weekend they traded starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. These were clearly financially driven moves, and now the Rays sport a payroll of less than $70 million. The club’s offseason moves prompted Longoria to say that he feels sorry for Rays fans.
If you asked Rays brass, I’m sure they’d make strong statements defending all of these moves while offering evidence-light arguments that, yes, they truly are interested in fielding a competitive team in 2018. They would likely react VERY angrily to any suggestion that they are tanking this year. Teams never admit that they’re tanking.
In other news, the Rays announced a new blog: