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 Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.