Yesterday the Yankees were said to be close to signing Travis Hafner and now Chad Jennings of the New York Journal News reports that “the deal is in place” and could be announced as soon as today.
No word yet on the specifics, but Jennings speculates that it’ll be similar to the one-year, $1.1 million deal Raul Ibanez got to leave the Yankees for the Mariners.
Hafner can’t stay healthy and is purely a designated hitter, but as a part-time bat versus right-handed pitching he remains plenty dangerous and certainly worth that type of modest commitment.
During the past three seasons Hafner hit .278 with an .855 OPS versus righties. For comparison, over that same span Ibanez hit .261 with a .793 OPS versus righties.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.