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 Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.