CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Indians today announced they have picked up the option on starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, and also declined options on DH Travis Hafner and pitcher Roberto Hernandez.
The moves are the first big decisions under the direction of new manager Terry Francona, who took the job after the team fired Manny Acta with six games to play in the 2012 season.
The decision to decline the option on Hafner is no big surprise, based on the fact he was due to earn $13 million in the 2013 season if the team chose to keep him.
The buyout on Hafner’s deal is $2.75 million, and there’s a chance the team may try to bring him back at a lower salary as they did Grady Sizemore last season when the team inked him for a one-year deal at $5 million.
Last season Hafner hit .228 with 12 homers and 34 runs batted in. He played in just 66 games after fighting off again a number of injuries. Over the past five seasons he’s played in 429 games, an average of about 86 games a year.
His best season with the Indians came in 2006 when he hit .308 with 42 homers and 117 RBI.
On October 2nd vs the White Sox Hafner hit a pinch-hit two-run homer, his 200th home run as a member of the Indians. He’s only the eighth player in franchise history with 200 homers.
During the All-Star break in 2007, Hafner inked a $57 million dollar contract extension, which started in the 2009 season. They picked up his 2008 club option and doubled his $4 million salary in the process.
Last season Jimenez was expected to anchor the starting pitching along with Justin Masterson, and was a complete flop. The 28-year-old went 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA in 31 starts.
Jimenez threw 176.2 innings, allowing 190 hits, 106 earned runs, striking out 143 and walking 95.
Despite his issues, the decision to bring him back is not a surprise, as he’s due to make $5.75 million this upcoming season. The team also holds an $8 million dollar option for Jimenez for the 2014 season.
Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, pitched in just three starts in August after an offseason that saw him arrested for false identity in the Dominican Republic.
This past season as the team waited for him to be cleared to make his return to the United States, he made $2.5 million as a base salary. He had been scheduled to make $7 million this season, but the club renegotiated the amount while adding incentives for innings pitched, starts and days on the 25-man roster.
Overall he went 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA. Both Hafner and Hernandez now will become free agents, and are free to ink with any team.