Designated hitter Travis Hafner most likely played his last game with the Cleveland Indians, as expected the Tribe declined his 2013 club option. The option worth $13 million involved a $2.75 million buyout. Choosing the buyout caught nobody by surprise considering seemingly countless injuries plagued Hafner's career since the 2008 season. Still his decade wearing an Indians uniform makes cutting ties sentimentally difficult.
GM Chris Antonetti when speaking to the media addressed whether the Tribe will try to re-sign Hafner through free agency, saying "We remain open to it. We'll have to see how our roster takes shape this winter, and he'll obviously have to evaluate his alternatives."
Travis Hafner talking with the media expressed interest in returning to Cleveland but admitted such an occurrence would take time. "I don't see anything happening quickly. We'll kind of sit down and gauge interest on both sides and see the direction the organization is taking, and go from there."
Surfing around the web you will find some fans agreeing the Indians should consider re-signing Hafner. Their reasoning basically revolving around the fact he must sign somewhere cheap because he needs to prove he can stay healthy.
Me, personally I oppose re-signing Travis Hafner to any dollar amount. After all, for five years Hafner struggled to stay healthy. What logic can explain why 2013 would be different?
Now I hold nothing against the designated hitter. Entering the 2012 campaign while the most cynical Clevelanders ripped into Hafner, I voiced my support for him. Back in February I expressed relief when the rumored A.J. Burnett-Travis Hafner trade fell through. On Opening Day April 5 I needed to utilize self-restraint to avoid a verbal spat regarding Hafner's talent with a fan in the row below me.
In retrospect I look foolish defending the once menacing slugger. Yet I don't regret showing my support and I do wish Travis Hafner well moving forward. Well wishes however fail to fuel successful ball clubs. Ultimately my number one goal as a fan stands watching the Cleveland Indians succeed.
Reality dictates the Cleveland Indians should focus on the future and what roster moves will give the team the best chance at capturing a future AL Central pennant. Bottom line, you will not spot Travis Hafner in a picture featuring the future championship Tribe. I say thank Travis Hafner for the good memories he provided Progressive Field the past decade and leave the past where it belongs, the past.
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 allure 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.
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