Former Cleveland Indians slugger Travis Hafner will be joining the Notre Dame College baseball staff this coming season.
Hafner, 36, had been rumored to take the assistant coaching position under head coach Len Barker if he was unable to find an MLB job for the 2014 season. His wife, Amy, is a cheerleading coach at Notre Dame College. On Wednesday, the school confirmed the move in a press release.
Last season, the aptly nicknamed Pronk batted just .202/.301/.378 in 299 plate appearances on a one-year deal with the New York Yankees. While he hit 12 home runs, the defensively limited hitter seemed to be out of luck for his playing future.
Acquired in a minor trade with the Texas Rangers in December 2002, he had his best seasons in 2005-2006. Those two years, he averaged 36 doubles, 38 homers and 112 RBI with a .306/.423/.626 hitting line. Somewhat surprisingly, despite two top-8 MVP voting finishes in those seasons, Hafner never was an American League All-Star.
The Indians signed Hafner to a four-year $57 million extension halfway through the 2007 season. In his final five years with the team, from 2008-2012, he averaged only 86 games played and a .259/.353/.436 line. The contract is regarded as the worst in franchise history.
Barker also is a famous former Indian, most well known for his May 15, 1981 perfect game, the last Cleveland Indians individual no-hitter. The two certainly could be recruiting powerhouses in the region for the new Division II school known as the Falcons.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.