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]