Tag:Travis Hafner
Posted on: March 29, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 10:02 pm
 

Possible 2011 trade candidates, obvious and not

By Matt Snyder

One of the big reasons preseason predictions are often blown to bits is the number of games played by certain players for certain teams. Major injuries, for example, but also because players end up being traded. Underachieving and overachieving teams end up becoming sellers and buyers, respectively, by the deadline.

There are going to be names already being thrown around in rumors and on fan message boards from the get-go. We'll give you five obvious names sure to appear in trade talks. Then, because it's so much more fun to throw stuff at the wall, we'll dig deeper and find 10 not-so-obvious names that could end up being traded or at least discussed. In those cases, certain things have to happen in order to clear the way for a deal, but those things can't be absolutely outlandish.

Remember, many players have no-trade clauses or are 10-and-5 guys, so every possible deal is contingent upon that. We're just making a list and enjoying it as a fun discussion point.

Let's get it on.

FIVE OBVIOUS TRADE NAMES

Michael Young, Rangers. No explanation needed, really.

Heath Bell, Padres. He wants to stay in San Diego and the Padres might want to try and keep him (without having to pay much long term, of course), but when the market for late-inning relievers gets strong in July and the Padres are well out of the race, he'll be one of the most mentioned names.

Felix Hernandez, Mariners. For now, the Mariners have sworn up and down he's never going anywhere. Even if the team is brutal again this season, it's reasonable to believe the Mariners will immediately hang up the phone any time someone like Brian Cashman says the name Felix. But if they start listening and someone is desperate enough to absolutely bowl them over, it very well might happen. He's in the obvious category because I'm sure people will not stop talking about the possibility. My initial feeling is he ends the season in Seattle, however.

Fausto Carmona, Indians. Remember CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee? Carmona is a big step down, but he's still a starting pitcher on the Indians who is not going to re-sign. He only has a club option left on his contract after 2011. When (not if) teams become desperate to add starting pitching in the race -- Yankees and Cardinals come to mind as candidates, but it could be anyone if unforeseen injuries or ineffectiveness pops up -- teams will come calling for Carmona. That is, of course, assuming he's been productive and the Indians are out of it. And you know the Indians will listen. My prediction is he's the most sure bet on here to be traded.

Grady Sizemore, Indians. Same as Carmona, except Sizemore has tons more upside and tons more downside -- due to injury woes. If he shows he's healthy and the Tribe don't inexplicably stay in the AL Central race, he's gone. Only a 2012 club option remains on his contract after this season.

10 NOT-SO-OBVIOUS NAMES


Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers. He's a free agent at the end of the year and we know about the Dodgers' money woes. As long as they aren't in the midst of the race, some team is going to want to bolster its bullpen. This one is pretty feasible, actually.

Chris Carpenter, Cardinals. As with every player's present team on this list, the Cardinals would have to fall out of contention pretty early. If they did, Carpenter has already said he's not averse to a deal. Plus, he's a free agent after the season and there's some big-name soon-to-be free agent the Cards desperately want to keep.

Francisco Cordero, Reds. Only a '12 club option remains on his contract. What if Cordero loses his closing job to Aroldis Chapman early a la Frank Francisco yielding to Neftali Feliz last year? What if the Reds fall out of contention? Easy to see a chain of events here.

Prince Fielder, Brewers. Least likely candidate on here. The Brewers would have to fall really, really far out of the race. If that did happen, yet he was having a big season, another team might pay enough for him that the Brewers couldn't refuse, especially considering he's a free agent after the season and almost certainly leaving.

Travis Hafner, Indians. He's not obvious like Sizemore and Carmona because Pronk has that pesky $13 million due to him in 2012. Of course, let's give an example of someone that might pay: Say the Yankees are five games behind the Red Sox, Jorge Posada is hurt, Jesus Montero either gets traded for pitching or isn't hitting well in the minors and none of the other spare parts (like Eric Chavez) are working. On the flip-side, Pronk is raking. Would the Yankees make that move? I think they might. His pull power from the left-side would fit well in Yankee Stadium.

Aaron Hill, Blue Jays. The Jays are building a good foundation and a Hill deal would give them some flexibility both financially and defensively. They could move top prospect Brett Lawrie back to second base -- the only position he ever played professionally prior to this spring -- and then use Jose Bautista at third or keep him in the outfield, whatever worked best moving forward with the makeup of the roster. If Hill gets off to a hot start and the Jays don't, I like this move.

Francisco Liriano, Twins. He's here because it's already been rumored and the Twins have the option -- at least for now -- to move Kevin Slowey back into the rotation. As long as the Twins are in the thick of the AL Central, though, which should be all season, I don't see it happening.

Brandon Phillips, Reds. Not as far-fetched as you might think. OK, well, the Reds have to fall far out of the race in the NL Central (which seems incredibly unlikely), but if they do, Phillips is a big candidate to be shipped. He has a club option after the season and will be 30 by the deadline. Plus, his power has declined rather significantly since his breakout 2007 campaign.

Aramis Ramirez, Cubs. It's hard to see a scenario where the Cubs would pick up Ramirez's 2012 option, so this could easily be his last season in Chicago. If he stays healthy, hits like he can and the Cubs are not in the race by mid-July, he'll definitely be available.

Jose Reyes, Mets. A free agent at the end of the year, if Reyes proves he's healthy and produces numbers while the Mets fall behind in the NL East, he's certain to be dealt.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 12:30 am
 

Sorting out Johnson's place on Indians

By Matt Snyder

In case you missed the news yesterday, Nick Johnson is on the verge of signing a minor-league contract with the Indians (Twitter links contained via MLB Trade Rumors ). And if you did miss it, shame on you. How dare you not follow every move of Nick Johnson. This is clearly the most monumental signing of the offseason.

I kid, I kid.

Still, the move is at least intriguing enough to see where he might fit with the Tribe, should he join the big league club at some point -- and stay healthy for an extended stretch, which is a huge "if."

The reason for this is Matt LaPorta is expected to play first base for the Indians this season while Travis Hafner is slotted as the designated hitter. Johnson can't fit anywhere else.

Now, obviously the Tribe only took a flier on Johnson to see if it would pan out. It's a minor-league contract, after all, so there is no risk or obligation. But let's say all three aforementioned players stay healthy and hit the ball like they're capable.

LaPorta, 26, was the centerpiece of the CC Sabathia trade. Even if his development hasn't come as fast as expected, someone with his potential isn't going anywhere, especially for a team not expected to contend.

Hafner was one of the best hitters in baseball from 2004-2006 -- and still pretty solid in 2007 -- but injuries have derailed that a bit. He had a 131 OPS-plus in 462 plate appearances last season, so we know he can still swing it. He's just averaged 90 games a year over the past three, though, so this could be where Johnson comes into play.

Say what you will about his health, but Johnson sports a career .401 OBP. If he battles all the way the back to 100 percent health, there should be a spot on a major-league roster for him. At 32, he's definitely not too old to be productive.

Again, this was a move with very minimal risk. If Johnson ends up injured and worthless, it doesn't harm the Tribe at all.

If he's healthy and swinging the bat well, he can be the insurance policy for the oft-injured Pronk.

But what if both are healthy and swinging the bat well? This could actually be where Indians management is really looking. Both guys are left-handed, so they are redundant to the roster -- therefore: Trade. Bait.

Travis Hafner is due to make $13 million in 2012, so he might be tough to move. Still, if a team suffers a serious injury and/or needs a big bat in the middle at the trade deadline, it isn't inconceivable to see a move. Let's just say the Yankees deal Jesus Montero in a desperate attempt to nab a top-line starting pitcher and then Jorge Posada suffers a season-ending injury -- it's not out of the question on either front. If that was the case, Pronk in pinstrips for the last two months of 2011 and all of 2012 makes some sense, especially with that short right-field porch. It would be a win-win deal.

And if they couldn't deal Hafner, they could get a something for Johnson. He wouldn't be as attractive as Hafner, but he'd come without the lofty price tag.

Anyway, that's all a long way from now and both Johnson and Hafner would have to be healthy. Just something to think about as we wait for meaningful baseball to be played.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: February 25, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Imagining an MLB Combine

Michael Bourn

While our Eye on Football brethren are in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine not getting to watch guys run and jump, it got me to thinking how much fun an MLB Combine might be.

Among the drills the NFL draft hopefuls do that would be applicable to baseball are the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap and the Wonderlic Test. So who would be the best baseball players to participate? That's where the fun begins.

40-yard dash: Maybe for baseball, it'd be more fun to line the guys up and have them go 90 feet.

Favorite: Michael Bourn, Astros. A Sports Illustrated poll of players during spring training had Crawford picked as the fastest player in the majors, but the less-heralded Bourn finished second. Bourn has won two straight Gold Gloves in center, and much of it is because he can seemingly cover the entire outfield. In a division blessed with fast center fielders (Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs), Bourn covers more ground than anyone. Oh, and he's led the National League in stolen bases each of the last two seasons.

Others: Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Luis Durango, Juan Pierre, Jose Reyes, Andrew McCutchen, Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, Emilio Bonifacio, Carlos Gomez, Carl Crawford

Adam DunnBench press: At the combine, players bench press 225 pounds as many times as possible, testing not only strength, but endurance. For baseball, maybe the best test would be a home-run derby-like format, but adding the distances of balls hit.

Favorite: Adam Dunn, White Sox. According to HitTrackerOnline.com, Jose Bautista had more "no-doubt" home runs than Dunn (19 to 16), but Dunn's homers averaged nearly 10 feet more, with an average "true distance" of 411.1 feet. Mark Reynolds' 32 homers averaged 415.6 feet, so he's certainly in the discussion. Dunn's been consistently hitting long home runs, so he gets the nod.

Others: Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Mark Reynolds, Wily Mo Pena, Mike Stanton, Travis Hafner, Russell Branyan, Jose Bautista

Dexter FowlerVertical leap: While it's not something that you associate with baseball, it's a good test of athleticism, but is also practical at the wall as players just to rob home runs.

Favorite: Dexter Fowler, Rockies. At 6-foot-5, Fowler was recruited as a basketball player in high school, but he showed his leaping ability in an unusual place in the 2009 NLDS. In the eighth inning of Game 4, Fowler was on first when Todd Helton hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Fowler was running toward Utley and hurdled him. Utley then threw errantly to Jimmy Rollins and Fowler was safe. (You can see the play here.)

Others: Carl Crawford, Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, Mike Cameron, Hunter Pence

Craig BreslowWonderlic test: A 12-minute, 50-question test used for testing applicants for learning and problem-solving. Harvard's Pat McInally is the only confirmed 50 score at the combine, while another Harvard alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, scored either a 48 or 49 in nine minutes. So, it makes sense to look to the Ivy League for our baseball picks.

Favorite: Craig Breslow, Athletics. Breslow graduated from Yale with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Seriously. The Sporting News called him the smartest player in sports, while the Wall Street Journal suggested he may be the smartest man in the world. Not only that, batters hit just .194/.272/.348 against him last season, with lefties hitting .181/.245/.340 against him.

Others: Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young, Fernando Perez, Mark DeRosa

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 8:18 pm
 

DH market still crowded

Vladimir Guerrero If there's a surplus of one position on the free agent market, it may be the designated hitter spot.

Jim Thome, one of last season's bargain pickups, is still unsigned, as are Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. And then there's the not-retired Jermaine Dye, Jason Giambi, Russell Branyan, Jose Guillen and Hank Blalock.

So far this offseason, the Red Sox exercised their option on David Ortiz, the Yankees have said they'll move Jorge Posada out from behind the plate, as will the Tigers with newly-signed Victor Martinez. Adam Dunn will be a first-time designated hitter with the White Sox.

As for teams with needs, that includes the team Thome DH'd for last season, the Twins, who would like him back. Of course, after putting up the year he did, he feels like he deserves a raise -- especially with his 600th career home run likely coming this season. The Rays, Angels and Rangers also have obvious needs, while the Orioles, Royals and Blue Jays could upgrade at the spot or stay put.

As it stands, here how the current AL DHs line up:
Orioles -- Luke Scott
Red Sox -- David Ortiz
Yankees -- Jorge Posada
Blue Jays -- Edwin Encarnacion
Rays -- Matt Joyce
White Sox -- Adam Dunn
Indians -- Travis Hafner
Tigers -- Victor Martinez
Royals -- Billy Butler
Twins -- Jason Kubel
Angels -- Mike Napoli
A's -- Hideki Matsui
Mariners -- Jack Cust
Rangers -- David Murphy

And here's who is left on the market (2010 AVG/OBP/SLG HR, RBI)
Jim Thome .283/.412/.627 25, 59
Vladimir Guerrero .300/.345/.496 29, 115
Manny Ramirez .298/.409/.510 16, 42
Johnny Damon .271/.355/.401 8, 51
Russell Branyan .237/.323/.487 25, 57
Jason Giambi .244/.378/.398 6, 35
Andruw Jones .230/.341/.486 19, 48
Hank Blalock .254/.319/.349 1, 7
Jose Guillen .258/.314/.416 16, 62
Jeremy Hermida .216/.268/351 6, 29
Troy Glaus .240/.344/.400 16, 71
Mike Sweeney .252/.321/.444 8, 26
Jorge Cantu .256/.304/.392 11, 56
Jermaine Dye (2009) .250/.340/.453 27, 81

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: November 12, 2010 10:16 am
 

Indians can't afford Westbrook, but call anyway

Jake Westbrook The Indians have talked to free-agent right-hander Jake Westbrook about returning to Cleveland, the Plain Dealer 's Paul Hoynes writes .

However, a return to Cleveland seems unlikely, as new Indians general manager Chris Antonetti has been given the charge of cutting payroll from $61.5 million at the start of 2010 to somewhere between $40-$50 million.

The Indians are committed to $26.6 million to three players for 2011 -- Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona and have six players eligible for arbitration -- Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jensen Lewis, Chris Perez, Rafael Perez and Joe Smith.

If the Indians tender contracts to all six, well, it'll be interesting if they have enough money to fill out the rest of their roster, much less sign a free agent pitcher who is looking for a two-year deal. Westbrook has reportedly turned down a one-year offer from the Cardinals.

The Denver Post 's Troy Renck says the Rockies are interested in Westbrook, as well.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: August 15, 2010 12:40 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 4:52 pm
 

Indians activate, but worry about, Hafner


Travis Hafner Travis Hafner is off the disabled list, but that doesn't mean the Indians have stopped worrying about their designated hitter.

According to Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto, the Indians are concerned about Hafner's right shoulder. Hafner has had issues with the problem each of the last three seasons. Writes Pluto , "The Indians aren't saying much about Travis Hafner's latest trip to the disabled list, but there is real concern. He's having the same problems -- weakness and inflammation in his surgically repaired shoulder. He is working to come back again."

Hafner is signed for $13 million in each of the next two seasons with a club option for the same amount in 2013. This season, Hafner's played in 82 games, hitting .267/.368/.430 with nine home runs and 33 RBI. He hasn't played 100 games since 2007, which is coincidently when he signed his extension through 2012. At 33, he's far from guaranteed to return to his 2006 form, when he hit 42 homers and left the American League with a 1.097 OPS.

To make room for Hafner -- who was placed on the DL on Aug. 3 -- the Indians optioned outfielder Jordan Brown to Triple-A Columbus.

UPDATE: Hafner hit a grand slam in the Indians' 9-1 victory over Seattle.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


Category: MLB
Posted on: August 3, 2010 5:39 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 7:01 pm
 

Busy day for DL

Kevin Youkilis With most injuries, you never quite know how bad they are until the next day.

As for last night? It wasn't a real good night for some of baseball's better players.

As was mentioned already, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis went to the disabled list today, and the news on that injury is a little up in the air.

Youkilis had an MRI this morning that found a torn muscle in his thumb that could require surgery. According to the Boston Globe 's Peter Abraham , doctors are uncertain about the extent of the injury and Youkilis will get a second opinion soon.

"They're searching for some answers because this is, I think, quite rare," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told Abraham and other reporters. "How it happened is a little hard to explain. … In the meantime, there's no way we're going to let him play and take a swing and hurt his career."

Francona said there's a chance that it could scar up and allow Youkilis to return after the 15 days are up.

Ryan Howard Youkilis isn't the only big-time first baseman to go to the disabled list today -- the Phillies placed Ryan Howard on the disabled list with a  sprained left ankle. The team called up John Mayberry Jr. to take his place.

Howard hurt the ankle sliding into second base in Sunday's game in Washington. He went with the team to Florida, but returned to Philadelphia on Monday to get the ankle checked out. With Howard on the DL, Jayson Werth becomes the only Phillie regular not to have visited the DL this season.

It wasn't all bad news for first basemen, as Reds manager Dusty Baker told the Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Fay that Joey Votto (wrist) will return to the lineup for Wednesday afternoon's game against the Pirates. However, the Reds did put starting shortstop Orlando Cabrera on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

The Reds will replace him in the lineup with Paul Jansih, a superb defensive shortstop who has hit well (.270/.370/.413) in spotty playing time this season. To replace Cabrera on the roster, the Reds called up third baseman Juan Francisco.

As for Monday's most gruesome injury, test on Carlos Santana's left knee showed a high-grade strain of the LCL and hyperextension of the left knee, according to a tweet from the Cleveland Plain Dealer 's Paul Hoynes . Surgery is still a possibility for the Indians' top young player. The Indians also placed Travis Hafner on the DL and called up catcher Lou Marson and starter David Huff.

UPDATE: Hoynes has more on his blog abotu Santana's injury -- Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff says the injury isn't as bad as the Indians feared. "We do feel fortunate," Soloff said.

As for Howard, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters, including David Hale of the News Journal , that the team isn't sure how long Howard will be out.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 13, 2010 1:21 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2010 3:15 pm
 

Strasmas II: Electric Boogaloo



Stephen Strasburg started Sunday where he left off in his last start, striking out the first batter he faced in his second big-league start. Cleveland's Trevor Crowe was the eight-consecutive batter Strasburg struck out. Shin-Soo Choo followed for Strasburg's ninth strikeout in as many batters faced.

Cleveland's own rookie, Carlos Santana, at least put wood to the ball, lining out to end the first inning.

Second inning: The Russian's cut! He's human. Travis Hafner homers off Strasburg to tie the game at 1. But he has two more strikeouts, so the legend isn't quite dead. Hafner's homer is the only hit so far.

Third inning: More mortality -- no strikeouts, just three boring ground balls. Through three, Strasburg has 38 pitches, 25 strikes. His opponent, David Huff has 39 pitches, 33 strikes, for what it's worth.

Fourth inning: Apparently Adam Dunn doesn't want Stephen Strasburg to ever lose a game. Dunn homers -- like he did in Strasburg's first start -- to give the lead back to the phenom. Strasburg gets Choo again on three pitches -- the second strike was a nasty backdoor pitch and then the big curve for his fifth strikeout of the game. What's special about Strasburg so far, to me, isn't the velocity, it's those other pitches -- and I'd have a feeling Choo would agree. And for those poo-poo'd his debut against Pittsburgh, Cleveland may not have the best offense, but Choo is a professional hitter. Santana goads Strasburg into his first career walk. How about that, a guy who throws 100 who has that kind of control. And as that's written, Strasburg walks Hafner. Things then return to normal, getting Austin Kearns for K No. 6.

Fifth inning: Sir Strasburg doesn't like the mound at Progressive Field. A little delay as they repair his landing spot. So with two outs and a man on first, Trevor Crowe is left trying to bunt for a hit, because it seems like a better chance than actually swinging the bat. Ryan Zimmerman lets him know that's not a sound strategy. 

Sixth inning: Ivan Rodrguez's two-run double gives Strasburg even more of a cushion, and then Ian Desmond made it 6-1 with a two-run triple. Santana gets a bloop single for just the second hit of the day for the Indians. And then, after a couple of balls to Hafner, Strasburg's looking at his landing area again and pitching coach Dan McCatty comes to the mound. And now Jim Rigglemman is out again to talk about the mound and the field crew is out there to work on it. And now Strasburg walks Kearns and that's it for him. Strasburg went 5.1 innings, two hits, five walks, eight strikeouts and a home run. He left the bases loaded, so his line is incomplete. He threw 95 pitches, 52 strikes. He as brilliant through five, but struggled int he sixth. Drew Storen replaced him. Storen got Russell Branyan to pop up for the second out of the inning and strikes out Jhonny Peralta to close the book on Strasburg. 5.1 innings, two hits, one run, five walks, eight strikeouts.

 
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.









 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com