The headline, she speaks for itself. These moves were not unexpected.
Hafner signed a big contract extension in 2007 at almost the exact moment that he ceased to be a healthy, reliable and productive player. Well, saying he was not productive is unfair, for he still presented a threat to go deep when he was healthy. It’s just that he was never, ever healthy. His option for 2013 was a whopping $13 million, so it was never gonna happen. Someone may take a flier on him next spring, but the market for broken designated hitters is not a strong one.
Hernandez’s club option was for $12 million. He pitched three whole ineffective games for the Indians after getting his Fausto Carmona identity theft problems straightened out. He was last useful in 2010 and never came close to fulfilling the promise he held back in 2007 when he went 19-8.
Jimenez likewise pitched poorly in 2012, but his option was a modest $5.75 million and that seems a reasonable risk given Jimenez’s potential. If he can’t get it done in 2013, however, it could be the end of the road for him in Cleveland. He has an $8 million 2014 option.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.