Chris Antonetti said it was the toughest contract tender decision the club had to make.
But they had to make it.
Jack Hannahan was not tendered a contract for the 2013 season, thus making him a free agent and free to explore other opportunities.
Whether "Super Mannahan" will gain other opportunities is a given. He's proven to be a useful major league player and there is going to be some team that is looking for a top-notch defensive backup that will scoop him up and sign him. He even can give you some sort of a pop at times and is surely a veteran presence in the clubhouse.
The Indians though, have no room for him on a team that is looking to start Lonnie Chisenhall full-time, and have some flexibility off the bench. Especially with Mike Aviles on board.
If the Indians would have somehow found a way to sign a top-notch left field bad, I'd almost argue you could try Hannahan out at as a part-time first baseman, but that's too creative.
Hannahan carved himself out a niche in Cleveland. He was never supposed to be anything more than a depth option at third base a few years ago. Jason Donald was supposed to be the starter in 2011 until he got injured in spring training. Hannahan not only took advantage of the opportunity, he made his stay in Cleveland last two years and he established himself as a fan favorite for his superb glovework and firey on-the-field play.
And how gracious is he in this decision? Super Jack said that he is excite for the opportunity that Chisenhall is going to get.
"I had two great years in Cleveland," Hannahan said. "I love playing in Cleveland. I love the fans of Cleveland and I have a lot of respect for [president] Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti. I really believe in what they're doing there as far as getting a team that can contend and play in October."
Hannahan would have likely made north of $1 million, somewhere around $1.5 after his salary last year in that process, which might be a little more than the Indians want to pour into the bench. With Aviles likely claiming around $2 million in salary, Hannahan and Aviles combined may be a little more than the Indians want to spend on back-up players.
And with Chisenhall needing a full-opportunity, you don't want to create any sort of controversy or pressure for him to perform with the veteran waiting in the wings. It was time to move on and both sides probably know it. Hannahan can go on and be a part of something else and hopefuly latch on to a contender and provide his skill set there.
There are still many fans in Cleveland that will appreciate what he did for the Tribe and I'm sure he has mass-amounts of appreciation for what the organization has done for him and his career. Best of luck Super Mannahan!
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