The Cleveland Indians, as expected, have declined the options of Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez. Instead of picking Hafner's up, they'll pay him a $2.75 million dollar buyout. They've decided to pick up the $5.75 option on Ubaldo Jimenez.
Hernandez, or Fausto Carmona, whichever you prefer, was scheduled to make $6 million while Hafner would have raked in $13 million.
Both moves were expected, especially with Carmona not impressing much since his return from banishment. Jimenez's pick up was not a surprise considering that much was invested in him and if he exceeds expectations, he'd be well worth the price tag.
The decision to not pick up Fausto's option is intriguing, as it shows the Indians are either A)Comfortable with their current rotation options or B)They can potentially bring Fauxberto back on a lesser deal. Would another team out there pay around $6 million? Doubtful.
Now that Travis Hafner is a free agent, it will also be interesting to see what kind of interest he garners. Certainly there will be teams out there that would take a shot on him in a one-year deal knowing full-well what they will be getting. But the Indians could be one of those teams that takes a shot on him and he may be more partial to returning to Cleveland, even at a lower price tag than somewhere else.
He lives in Cleveland, his family is in Cleveland, the organization has treated him well, and if there is a spot for him, the Indians would probably like to have him around. So it is decision time for both sides. First with the Indians if they want to take up a roster spot with Hafner (and more than half of the games at the DH spot) and then secondly if Hafner wants to play ball with the Tribe both at the negotiating table and on the field.
Needless to say, the declining of both options now opens up the more intriguing pathway for both Fausto Hernandez and Travis Hafner, where as the journey with Ubaldo Jimenez is just beginning.
For more rationale on the subject, check out my pre-decision edition of the Offseason Rundown.
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