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Friday, February 1, 2013

TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE HAFNER SIGNING


Sure, it's official now.  The Yankees have added lefty power hitter Travis Hafner, read HERE. It's a $2 million deal plus incentives, but what the hell are we doing here?

Look, we let Raul Ibanez walk, a lefty DH and outfielder and the Yankees made it clear we needed a Right handed outfielder. OK fine.  They clearly couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time so instead, the Yankees made a priority list. The first goal was a righty outfielder.  Meanwhile, Raul said he'd "wait" but everyone knows you don't "wait" too long when you're looking for a job. Why? Well, you don't want to be the last guy at the bus stop, that's why.  Raul knew he had self worth after his great playoff run... so, there was a deadline for him and the Yankees stalled, he bolted. Good for him... foolish for the Yankees.

Many believed this move of passing on Raul was money driven, but was it? Raul would have demanded the same $2 million contract Travis did most likely.  That's not a fact, it's a guess, but we all know that it wouldn't have been more than $2 million.  At the end of the day, Raul gave his heart and soul to the club and deserved to come back.  The Yankees? They treated it like business and they looked for a cheaper alternative. In the end, I'm not quite sure Hafner was cheaper.

But back to that priority list... a righty outfield bat.  They went down their list, and we got a bunch of right handed outfielders. Juan Rivera, Matt Diaz, Russ Canzler. OK then. In the meantime, we lost lefty bat Raul, a fan favorite.  The alternative is a broken down Travis Hafner who has great power but not as stable as Raul Ibanez when it comes to his injury history.  Quite honestly, I understand the interest in Hafner, if it was 2004, but it's not.  My only question is, is this the smartest idea?

Raul Ibanez did a good job for us in 2012.  To me, it was automatic and it was clear to me when Bleeding Yankee Blue interviewed him in BYB EXCLUSIVE: IBANEZ TO SANDY VICTIMS: "I AM HERE TO HELP" that he wanted back and there was a hint of mutual interest. Here's that Q & A exchange:

BYB: How was your experience in the Bronx this season and would you come back to the Yankees if they called?

Raul Ibanez: "One of the greatest years of my life.  I heard it was great to be a Yankee I just didn't realize how much!  I can't wait to come back to the Yankees!"

So yeah... I don't get it.

So you ask... Why am I so hung up on Raul Ibanez? I'll tell you... Ibanez is a symbol of what is going wrong with the Yankees.  I feel like the landscape of loyalty is changing. There is no loyalty anymore, is there?

Look, I'm fine with Hafner coming to New York, in fact, this is not a Debbie Downer piece at all, I'm happy to see Hafner in the Bronx. I hope he does a great job for us, but there were better options, like Raul and the Yankees missed the boat again.  In the end, we settled on guys with no real feel for whether or not they can handle the pinstripe pressure.  Raul could and did and became a champion in  the Bronx.  Hafner?  We'll have to wait and see.

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