The Cleveland Indians have had another disappointing season after getting off to a promising start. Within four games of first place at the All-Star break, the Tribe has fallen off a cliff in the second half in much the manner that Rachel Phelps hoped for in Major League. Grady Sizemore is still hurt, manager Manny Acta has been given the axe, and now the Indians must decide what to do with three veterans who have been disappointments for very different reasons:
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez - 28 - has a $5.75 million club option and $1 million buyout
RHP Roberto Hernandez (nee Carmona) - 32 - has a $9 million club option and an unknown buyout
DH Travis Hafner - 35 - has a $13 million club option and a $2.75 million option
Jimenez has been a great disappointment for the Indians since arriving from the Rocky Mountains in July 2011. In a year and a half with the Tribe, the 2010 All-Star and viable Cy Young candidate has posted an abysmal 5.32 ERA in two hundred forty-two innings, walking 4.5 batters per nine. While $5.75 million is typically a deal for a still-young pitcher like Jimenez -- it only requires a little more than one win above replacement to break even -- the 28-year-old has managed to be worth -1.4 bWAR in Cleveland. That performance topped with rumored attitude issues make any hope that he might turn things around bleak.
Hernandez has had his very own set of high-profile issues over the past year. Placed on the Indians' restricted list in January for falsifying his name in age, Hernandez finally returned to the U.S. in mid-July and served the three-week suspension doled out by the MLB before returning to the mound August 15. Though his contract has been restructured, the Indians will still have to fork over $9 million to hang on to a pitcher that has struck out just two batters in fourteen and a third innings since his return, putting up a 7.53 ERA in three starts.
Hafner was first hit by the serious injury bug in 2007 -- right after a breakout season that resulted in a massive deal, of course. Pronk played in just fifty-seven games in 2007 and has only broken the one-hundred-game threshold in a single season since then. After beginning 2012 healthy, Hafner found himself on the disabled list by June with a torn meniscus, making a return trip for the month of September. While in previous years Pronk still produced when healthy, the lefty masher has hit just .224/.345/.425 with eleven home runs this year. The Indians may be better off finally cutting ties with the big guy and attempting to start fresh.
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