The Indians sit just a game back of the Tigers (two back in the loss column) and as they kick things off in the second half, they made a big splash by signing slugger Travis Hafner to a four year contract extension. They’ll be on the hook for $57 million over the life of the contract and there’s an option for the 2013 year as well. While $14+ a year sounds like a lot, I’ve been hearing $30 million a year thrown around with regard to A-Rod so by the end of this deal, if Hafner does what he’s expected and stays healthy, we’ll be looking at it as a bargain.
If I had to pick an MVP of the first half, I’d be torn between Victor Martinez and Grady Sizemore, but I’d have to side with Martinez just because he’s got the tougher defensive position. WARP would also agree with me with Martinez having a half game edge with a 4.3 WARP versus Sizemore’s 3.7. In fact, when it’s all said and done, Martinez could be a top five American League MVP candidate.
Best pitcher is an easy with C.C. Sabathia contending for the Cy Young. He leads the team in basically everything and he’s finally established himself as a bona fide ace. Not just on the team, but in the league.
Josh Barfield has to be one of the biggest disappointments, although it wouldn’t surprise me to see him bounce back with a good second half. He has just two homeruns and a .626 OPS. Frankin Gutierrez has twice as many homeruns in just 67 at bats.
Still, the Indians are breathing down the Tigers necks in what’s been a back and forth division race. And the Indians have a solid chance of making up some ground with a three game series beginning tomorrow against the Royals. Jake Westbrook gets the start in the opener and Odalis Perez will take the mound for the Royals.
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