Yesterday the Yankees were said to be close to signing Travis Hafner and now Chad Jennings of the New York Journal News reports that “the deal is in place” and could be announced as soon as today.
No word yet on the specifics, but Jennings speculates that it’ll be similar to the one-year, $1.1 million deal Raul Ibanez got to leave the Yankees for the Mariners.
Hafner can’t stay healthy and is purely a designated hitter, but as a part-time bat versus right-handed pitching he remains plenty dangerous and certainly worth that type of modest commitment.
During the past three seasons Hafner hit .278 with an .855 OPS versus righties. For comparison, over that same span Ibanez hit .261 with a .793 OPS versus righties.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.
Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.