As expected the Yankees have signed Travis Hafner to a one-year deal, with Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporting that the designated hitter will get $2 million in upfront money and $4 million in potential incentives.
If you’re paying Hafner a lot and counting on him to make an everyday impact in the middle of your lineup that’s a mistake, as the Indians found out all too well, but for a cheap one-year commitment and a part-time role he can still be pretty valuable.
Hafner can’t stay healthy, but he’s never ceased knocking around right-handed pitching and it sounds like the Yankees plan to basically use him as a platoon DH. Offensively he’s likely to be an upgrade over Raul Ibanez, who left the Yankees for the Mariners.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.