(Yeah, I used the all caps "breaking news" tag for this signing. It's a Major League player with legitimate offensive value, so I'm a little excited about that after watching the recent string of Quad-A signings. Deal with it.)
After reports came out yesterday that the Yankees were in serious talks with Travis Hafner, they finalized those talks today by signing him to a 1-year, incentive-heavy deal to be their main designated hitter for 2013. The deal is reportedly a guaranteed Major League deal, meaning a 40-man roster spot will have to be cleared to make room for Hafner. But that's an acceptable sacrifice to make to add a potential impact bat like Hafner's, injury concerns and all.
I wrote about Hafner and my desire to see the Yankees sign him weeks ago, so obviously I'm happy to see them add him and his thump to the lineup. Hafner is a huge injury risk, and as close to a sure thing as there is to end up on the DL at some point, but his offensive production potential as a righty masher hitting in Yankee Stadium is well worth that risk. The Yankees are very familiar with Hafner and I have to think they did their homework on his medical reports before deciding to go through with this deal. With what's left out there on the FA market, this is as good a cheap 1-year deal as they could have found, and one that could have potentially big returns if Hafner bucks the trend and stays healthy.
** UPDATE 2/1/13 1:46PM- Deal is official according to Jon Heyman. Hafner's base salary will be $2 million per Ken Davidoff, and his deal also includes "reachable incentives" per Dan Barbarisi. DH- Check. **
2 hours ago