MLB Rumor: Indians could add Hafner, Thome as DH

As the Cleveland Indians continue their search for a designated hitter, two familiar names continue to creep back into the fold: Travis Hafner and Jim Thome.

As reported earlier this week by CBS’ Jon Heyman, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer piles on by adding team-specific insight — when the Indians didn’t exercise Hafner’s $13 million option for 2013 this past fall, general manager Chris Antonetti said he was still open to bringing Hafner back to Cleveland for less money. While other teams continue to scoop up designated hitters, pitchers and catchers do not report to Goodyear, Arizona on February 10.

If Thome were signed, it would be his third stint with the team. With plans to erect a statue in his honor, the Indians are waiting for their current franchise leader in home runs to call it a career; there would undoubtedly be some nostalgia involved in his return.

In 2012, Hafner hit .228 with 12 home runs and 34 runs batted in. Thome, who played for the Phillies and Orioles last season, hit .252 with eight home runs and 25 runs batted in. The two sluggers, both left-handed, played 66 and 58 games, respectively.

Hoynes adds that the Indians are not, however, in talks with another former Indian in Manny Ramirez. Ramirez has a history with current Tribe manager Terry Francona, but is not under consideration for the vacant designated hitter spot.

[Related: Thome or Travis? I Choose Neither]

  • Natedawg86

    Everytime you let these guys hit, you have to pinch run them. May as well have E Cabrerra on bench too.

  • TSR3000

    Depends…..do we want a sad reminder of what used to be or what could have been?

  • WahooFrank

    Why do we insist on erecting statues of people who are still alive?!? Where’s joe paterno these days?

  • mgbode


    that is the argument against signing Hafner/Thome for DH. It’s well written but also demonstrates why many of us do not mind a cheap deal for one of them. Warning: Matt Laporta’s name is invoked.

    Basically, people want Aviles (.308 OBP), Fedroff(AAA), McGuinness (AA), McDade(AAA), Gomes(.264 OBP), and, yes, LaPorta (.301 OBP) to have turns at DH?

    Perhaps one of those minor league guys is ready for a shot at the MLB and deserves the DH job. I am not opposed to that. However, knowing the chances of actual success are hard to gauge, I am more comfortable bringing in the known. Hafner(.350OBP)/Thome(.345OBP). And, here’s the thing, they are just as cheap.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I say for a cheap price why not? There will be at-bats for the young guys when Hafner/Thome are hurt for half of the season anyway 🙂

  • mgbode

    i agree.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    mgbode Hafner strikes again!

  • woofersus

    True! And most of those young guys should be getting their AB’s at AAA if they wouldn’t actually be better than somebody like Hafner. We’re trying to win games, not extend the farm system up to the Major leagues. And the guys who are displaced by somebody at AAA who has a higher ceiling, but still aren’t good enough to actually win a roster spot over a cheap old guy? Get rid of them!

    I really don’t like the “clogging up a roster spot” argument. Who are you displacing? Somebody who isn’t ready? (AA guys on that list) Somebody who isn’t any good? (Matt La&%#) That’s what upgrading your team means. Those guys don’t get spots! I also don’t like the idea of taking a prospect who is still in his early 20’s and has a high ceiling and putting him in the DH role for ~50% of games instead of letting them actually develop. Especially a guy like McDade who could be a real live major league 1st baseman next year if he continues like he did in his first AAA experience last year.

  • Jaker

    Definitely used to be. At least there will be positive reflection on the good times, not more of the typical could’ve would’ve should’ve stuff.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Good point… if this team was in a total rebuilding mode, I would be a proponent of letting the young guys see what they can do over signing Hafner (giving plenty of the DH at-bats to Santana, As-Cab, or whoever else to let the young guy play at his natural position), but the offseason spending indicates that the Indians are still trying to win NOW, so you bring in the best players to help you win ASAP.

  • corineh

    Geez…why not bring back Carlos Baerga….

  • Tim Uglow

    what aboiut grady sizemore as dh?

  • Tim Uglow

    what aboiut grady sizemore as dh?