In addition to writing for DLF, I am also writing for Gear Up for Sports. I will always try to link those articles over here as well, hopefully giving you some added perspective on the Indians. This one, as you probably guessed, is about DH Travis Hafner and the sudden drop off in his power numbers and overall ability to even hit the ball at times. Yet, he remains an integral component of the 2009 offense:
Despite the fact that Hafner only played in 57 games last season due to injuries, he will remain as a key component of the Tribe’s lineup in 2009. For the past two years, fans have been bewildered by Hafner’s inability to take the ball to the opposite field, and even more confused by the fact that a homer, a previous staple of the Hafner repetoire, is now merely a rarity. If the Indians are going to be competitive in 2009 and even make a run at the division, they need Hafner to regain some shred of his old form. They cannot afford to have a guy wasting a spot in the batting order and at this point, that is basically what he has been doing.
Also, in case you were wondering, here are Hafner’s stats since 2004, his second season with the Tribe:
2004: .311, 28 HR, 109 RBI, .410 OBP (482 at-bats)
2005: .305, 33 HR, 108 RBI, .408 OBP (486 AB)
2006: .308, 42 HR, 117 RBI, .439 OBP (454 AB)
2007: .266, 24 HR, 100 RBI, .385 OBP (545 AB)
2008: .197, 5 HR, 24 RBI, .305 OBP (198 AB)
You can read the full article here.