No Deal on Potential Travis Hafner-A.J. Burnett Trade: A Fan’s Reaction

Word surfaced Tuesday, Feb. 14 revealing a potential trade between the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees that would send designated hitter Travis Hafner to New York for right-handed starter A.J. Burnett.

The Cleveland Indians no longer hold interest in starter A.J. Burnett.
Wikimedia Commons

To the relief of this Tribe fan, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reported on the Indians website the possible trade fell apart. Hafner, nicknamed "Pronk", played in 94 games during the 2011 season, hitting .280, with 16 doubles, 13 home runs, and 57 RBIs. Burnett went 11-11 in 2011 with a 5.15 ERA.

I'm relieved the Travis Hafner-A.J. Burnett trade failed to become reality because the Cleveland Indians already face enough offensive uncertainty without losing their designated hitter. The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto writes, "If the Indians are to compete with Detroit in the Central Division, the starting rotation will be the reason. They certainly can't hope to out-hit the Tigers."

Now, the Tribe lacking run production in 2011 proves no secret around Cleveland, so why trade one of your most menacing hitters?

Sure, Travis Hafner encountered several injuries since 2008, but he still gives an Indians lineup filled with youngsters a certain presence. Just imagine a scenario where the game is on the line in the bottom of the ninth. Who would you rather have up at the plate?:Travis Hafner, Shelley Duncan, Russ Canzler, or another possible fill-in designated hitter?

Plus, as my piece "Pending Physical, Jon Garland Will Compete for Cleveland Indians Rotation Spot: A Fan Reaction" illustrates, Cleveland already maintains several options for the starting rotation in Kevin Slowey, Jon Garland (pending physical), David Huff, and Jeanmar Gomez. These four will compete for the fifth spot. Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, and Derek Lowe all pretty much hold locks on rotation spots, as Terry Pluto notes in his previously mentioned article.

A.J. Burnett's 11-11 5.15 ERA 2011 campaign doesn't really make him a must-have for the rotation anyways. Even with some injuries the Tribe hold enough starter depth to keep them going. Still desiring more reassurance, though? Left-handed starter Scott Barnes ranks in at No. 5 on the Cleveland Indians' top 20 prospects list. His ETA to the majors is 2012 too, according to the Indians website.

Simply put, Travis Hafner maintains a greater ability to help the Tribe than A.J. Burnett, at least in my humble opinion.

Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some lure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.

SOURCES

Official Cleveland Indians website

The Plain Dealer

More from This Contributor:

Cleveland Indians Sign First Baseman Casey Kotchman

Cleveland Indians Avoid Arbitration with Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera

A Closer Look: The Paralympic Movement

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Updated Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012