While Indians GM Mark Shapiro thinks he still might be able to retain Travis Hafner and C.C. Sabathia despite the Jake Westbrook extension, he will hold off on contract negotiations with Hafner until after the season. Hafner and Sabathia are set to reach free agency after the 2008 season.
Hafner and the Indians have some work done that could eventually form the basis of an extension. Shapiro’s comment on retaining his two big free agents makes sense: he’ll do it if the money is there. A big factor will be whether the Tribe reaches the playoffs this year. Postseason revenue could help Shapiro sign both players before the ’08 season begins. Baseball Prospectus says the Indians have a 61% chance of making the playoffs. They see 93-94 wins for Cleveland.
It’s funny how quickly things change – David Ortiz’s contract, signed one year ago, would seem to be a reasonable benchmark for Hafner. Papi got four years and $52MM with a $12.5MM club option for 2011. At this point Hafner has to be thinking at least $14MM annually and five years.