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Saturday, February 9, 2013

BIG BOY HAFNER CAN HELP US FORGET ABOUT IBANEZ

Travis Hafner is a Yankee and I can get used to that believe it or not.  Sure, it's confusing after we watched Raul Ibanez walk, but maybe it's time to accept change.  After all, we are days away from Spring Training.

Hafner was signed to a one year $2M contract, heavy with incentives, off of free agency, read HERE. He is expected to play DH primarily, with an occasion spot at 1st base.  I wonder though, can he handle it? That is where my confusion sets in. Yet, with the combination of that short porch and his power lefty bat... I could forget all about Raul Ibanez and Hafner's "not-so-great" defense.

Let's backtrack.  In November, Raul Ibanez made it very clear that he would love to be in pinstripes when he told BYB himself in BYB EXCLUSIVE. IBANEZ TO SANDY VICTIMS: "I AM HERE TO HELP"  "I can't wait to come back to the Yankees!"  Sounded like a done deal, He wanted to come back and so did the fans. He had become a fan favorite. We wanted him back in pinstripes. But the Yankees had other plans that involved signing three righty outfielders and they let him walk. When they needed a lefty, Raul was gone. Now, we have Travis Hafner.

At the time, a lot of fans assumed that the problem with Raul was the money. Considering Hafner’s contract, that clearly isn’t the case. Look, I get it. In the sports world, Raul is no spring chicken. Travis is 35 years old.  Younger sometimes is better and older players have to take what it's given to them WHEN it is given to them. Otherwise, they run the risk of not being signed at all. So Raul went to the Mariners. It’s business.
(In Photo: Travis Hafner. Check out who the catcher is.)
I’m not saying that Hafner was a bad choice. In fact, if he can stay healthy, Hafner may be just what this line-up needs. But Raul was a Yankee because he proved it to us.  He had the drive, desire and dedication that I like to think defines this team. He earned his pinstripes. But truth be told... Hafner will earn his too.  We need to turn the page here like Casey writes in LET'S TURN THE PAGE ON THE YANKEES OFFSEASON. The time is now.

True, I won’t pretend to understand the logic behind letting Raul go and with that, I will say it clear as can be, I want Hafner to succeed in pinstripes. I want him to remain healthy and help us get as far as possible this season and hey, he may even be a big surprise.  But I miss Raul already.  It can be hard to move on sometimes, but I will. I guess it's time to embrace Travis Hafner and appreciate the good times we had with Raul.

So, let's go Travis... earn your pinstripes!


--Erica Morales, BYB Writer
Twitter: @e_morales1804




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