The Yankees bizarre offseason modus operandi of “prioritizing” certain roster positions (ie, only talking to one free agent at a time, while other teams snatch up useful players) has left them with few options to fill their DH void. We suggested Lance Berkman as an option, and the Yankees showed interest. But Berkman decided to stay close to home and signed with the Rangers. Our other suggestion, Jim Thome, says he’s good to go. In case the Yankees are prioritizing clubhouse catering or ticket resale regulation when Thome signs somewhere, let’s throw one more oldie-but-goodie out there: Pronk.

Travis Hafner was once the most feared hitters in the game, but has fallen well off his peak due to age, injury, and possible discontinuation of certain dietary supplements. His main problem is that he cannot make it through a full season without spending large chunks of time on the DL. He hasn’t topped 118 games since 2007.  However, there’s quite a bit to say in favor of giving Pronk a ride on a cheap one year deal:

1) The first is that he can indeed be had on a cheap one-year deal. Contract crowdsourcing at Fangraphs has been eerily accurate this offseason, and is predicting a 1 year/$5 mil contract for Hafner.

2) The second is his career output: 12.6% walk rate, 20% k rate, .229 iso, 18% HR/FB, .379 wOBA. His career 135 wRC+ ties David Wright and Josh Hamilton for 12th place among all active players.

3) While we shouldn’t expect a 35 year old Hafner (he turns 36 in June) to hit for his career averages, his 2012 skills are amazingly close to his career line: 12.2% walk rate, 17.9% k rate, .210 iso, and 17.4% HR/FB. He was sunk by a .233 BABIP, but still managed a 119 wRC+. Clearly, he is still a well-above-average Major League hitter.

4) Like most lefties, he has large platoon splits. That means that the Yankees can leverage his prowess against righties if Russ Canzler or someone else can hold down the short side of the platoon. Hafner has a career 143 wRC+ vs RHPs, and a 136 wRC+ vs RHPs over the last 3 seasons. He is not the 117 wRC+ hitter vs lefties anymore,  which is what he’s done against same side pitching over the past 11 seasons. But nor is he as clueless and prone to being LOOGY’d as Raul Ibanez.

The main knock on Pronk is his inability to stay on the field. His chances of making it through a full season are negligible. But, the Yankees can help out his longevity by resting him against most lefties. And if he can make it until ARod returns, he will be a useful addition. Hafner can still be an impact bat, and there’s no excuse for the Yankees to throw out another empty bat in the lineup after punting the catcher slot.