36-Year-Old Designated Hitter – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Injuries have robbed the 36-year-old Hafner of the elite power that made him such a valuable fantasy player in the mid-2000s. He plugged an important hole at DH early in the season for the Yankees, pu...
Travis Hafner Contract Information:
Signed a one-year deal with the Yankees in January of 2013.
Hafner has joined the coaching staff for the baseball team at Notre Dame College in Ohio, The News-Herald reports.
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Travis Hafner: MLB Games Played By Position
Travis Hafner Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Career Batter vs. Pitcher Stats (View All Matchup Data)
Best Matchups for Travis Hafner (by OPS, min 10 AB)
Worst Matchups for Travis Hafner (by OPS, min 10 AB)
Travis Hafner: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Hafner was limited to just 66 games due to knee and back injuries, hitting 12 homers in what figures to be his last season in Cleveland. The team declined to pick up the pricey option on his contract and although they have not completely ruled out the possibility of bringing him back, it would seem very unlikely at this point. The 35-year-old's ability to mash right-handers has eroded over the years and he's played in over 100 games just once in the last five seasons. He'll likely land somewhere this offseason, but not everyone ages as gracefully as David Ortiz.
Hafner dealt with foot and oblique injuries for much of the season, limiting him to just 94 games. He was serviceable when he played (.280/.361/.449 with 13 homers) though the light-tower power he displayed at his peak only makes the rare appearance nowadays. It was Hafner's fourth straight injury-filled season and there's little reason to expect that trend to reverse itself at this stage in his career. The Indians are hopeful that he can handle the DH duties again, but at this point all they can really hope for is that he's a contributor when he's healthy enough to be in the lineup.
Hafner continued to battle shoulder injuries and while he's changed his swing to keep himself in the lineup four to five times per week it's come at the expense of his power. He did slug .523 in the second half, but most of the gains came thanks to a .404 batting average on balls in play. Sure, there's still a chance for a small rebound at age 33 but don't pin your hopes on it. He'll be back as the team's primary DH when health allows him to bat in the middle of the Cleveland lineup.
Hafner got off to a hot start, homering three times in the season's first two weeks, before the shoulder woes resurfaced. He battled the shoulder injury for much of the season, landing on the DL for six weeks at the end of April, and never got back to full strength. He likely exceeded most of the preseason expectations as he did hit .272 with 16 homers and 49 RBI, but it's hard to imagine he can stay healthy for a full season. He'll enter the season as the team's primary DH, but don't expect him to remain healthy.
What looked like a down year in 2007 might have been the beginning of the end for Hafner. A shoulder injury that cropped up in mid-April ended his season in late May, though he did make a cameo appearance in September (.122 with a homer in 41 at-bats) before opting for surgery in the offseason. The Indians are on the hook for $12 million annually though the 2012 season so they desperately need Hafner to get back on the field healthy. He's still just 31 so there may be some gas left in the tank and it certainly makes Hafner one of the more interesting draft day gambles.
Was it the first sign of a decline or simply an off season? Whichever it was, it wasn't good news for Hafner owners in 2007. He still drove in 100 runs but saw his average (.266) dip to under .300 for the first time since becoming a regular player and saw his homers drop from a career-high 42 the previous year to 24. He didn't slap around southpaws like he did the previous season (1.100 OPS in 2006, .837 OPS in 2007) but it was his drop against right-handers that was the main culprit. After posting a greater than 1.000 OPS against righties each of the previous three seasons, Hafner managed just an .836 OPS against them in 2007. Any thought of a contract distraction were put to bed as he continued to struggle after inking a four-year, $57 million deal over the All-Star break. He'll turn just 31 in June so we'll give him a mulligan on last year and expect a rebound from Pronk in '08.
Hafner was on his way to a MVP-caliber season when he suffered a season-ending broken hand after being hit by a pitch on Sept. 1. He improved in all aspects of his game, increasing his production against left-handed pitching (1.100 OPS vs. lefties last season compared to an .878 OPS vs. lefties in 2005) drawing more walks and hitting a career-high 42 home runs. About the only negatives are that despite his short career he's 30 years old, which may somewhat limits his upside, and that he likely only qualifies at DH in most fantasy leagues. Still, a legitimate run at AL MVP may be forthcoming.
Hafner finished 2005 in the top 21in the majors in all three Triple Crown categories, finishing 15th with 108 RBI, 17th with 33 home runs and 21st with a .305 batting average. A mortal against lefties, Hafner needs only to improve that facet of his game to be in the running for the real Triple Crown.
Hafner blossomed in a big way in 2004, exploding on the scene to rank second in the AL in OPS and ninth in RBIs. He had shown good power and discipline as a first baseman in the Texas system and broke through with the Indians while batting almost exclusively as a DH. Hafner rivaled Ichiro as the majors' best hitter on the road (1.072 OPS) and might have had even better numbers if not for bone chips in his right elbow, which necessitated surgery in September. Hafner could stand to improve against lefthanders (.244), but that may be nitpicking. His fantasy owners should enjoy the ride, but they'll have to do it using their DH spot in most leagues.
Hafner struggled through injuries in 2003, especially over the first half of the season, and had to battle Ben Broussard for playing time when he was healthy. The battle for playing time will end in 2004, but Hafner needs to improve against lefthanders (.190 in 2003). Hafner's second-half provides a cause for optimism; he hit 10 of his 14 homers in 187 at-bats after the break, and hit .273/.348/.519 over that span.
It speaks volumes for your farm system when Hafner is considered your third-best hitter in the system behind Hank Blalock and Mark Teixeira. He nailed Triple-A to the tune of a .342 average (and 79 walks in 401 at-bats) before his call-up. Hafner rotted away on the bench in September and re-injured his troublesome wrist playing winter ball in early December. Watch the health reports this spring. Hafner received a major boost to his value following a trade to Cleveland, where he should get more at-bats than he would have in Texas.