In a way, Hafner’s situation is like the person suffering from a pain in his shoulder that a team of doctor’s can’t isolate. Eventually, someone figures it out. Likewise, if Shelton and Wedge aren’t seeing something, then the Indians need to get some more opinions. A player doesn’t build a career with the kind of numbers Hafner had until 2007 only to suddenly go deeply south. There’s a reason for everything and right now the Indians entire strategy seems to be built around hope, as in hope that the pain will subside.
The Indians did win 96 games last season, tied for most in the league. By any measure, that’s impressive particularly considering it was despite Hafner. But for anyone watching the Red Sox playoff series last year, it presented an interesting picture. There were three keys to that series for the Indians: Sabathia, Carmona and Hafner. They didn’t need all three to play well in order to win, but neither could they withstand the ineffectiveness of all three. Unfortunately, that’s what they got.
The Indians are on the precipice of doing something great. The impending loss of Sabathia after the season only highlights how critical it is for the Indians to take advantage of the open window in front of them. But if they don’t want to spend the post-season watching someone else celebrate again, their choices are few. Get Hafner righted or get a Plan B. Another season of watching and hoping is not an option.