Indians place Travis Hafner on disabled list with foot injury

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Travis Hafner exited yesterday’s game with a sprained right foot and the Indians have placed the designated hitter on the disabled list.

Hafner also missed time with a foot injury in April and spent a month on the DL with an oblique strain around midseason, but he’s been very productive when healthy enough to be in the lineup, hitting .281 with 11 homers and an .812 OPS in 82 games.

Hafner is out for at least two weeks and his potentially being a question mark for September could increase the Indians’ chances of claiming Jim Thome, who reportedly was placed on waivers today along with an assortment of other veterans.

Thome could step into the DH spot for however long Hafner is out before moving into a pinch-hitter role, and both his remaining salary (about $600,000) and the Twins’ likely asking price (probably a mid-level prospect) are very affordable. It seems like an ideal fit for everyone involved, but that will be a moot point if a team in front of the Indians on the waiver wire pecking order also puts in a claim.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.