Hafner made $13 million last season, but the Indians paid him $2.75 million as a buyout rather than pick up his option for this season. The reason is simple, Hafner can’t stay healthy. Over the past five seasons he’s averaged just 86 games played. The reason the Yankees are interested in him though is because he still managed to hit .259/.353/436 over that stretch and has big powerful bat when healthy.
Hafner could fit in even better if the Yankees use him only against right handed pitchers and use one of their spare outfielders among Matt Diaz, Russ Canzler, Thomas Neal, and Juan Rivera to platoon with him. They all have good splits against lefties while Hafner hits .287/.391/.534 against righties.
That would not only give the Yankees a strong lefty/righty platoon at DH, but it would also help to keep Hafner healthy by limiting his playing time.
Right now the Yankees have no DH and there aren’t a lot of other options on the market so this makes sense. If he does sign though it’ll either be on a non-guaranteed minor league deal or a similar deal to Raul Ibanez, the man he would essentially be replacing. Ibanez signed with the Yankees on a one-year, $1.1 million deal with incentives based on at bats. If the Yankees could workout something like that with Hafner the only risk would be keeping him healthy until Alex Rodriguez returns to take some DH at bats in July.