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Link Roundup: Hafner's Extension, Rickey's Return

-P- The Indians signed Travis Hafner to a four-year, $57 million deal with a club option for 2013. The money initially seems reasonable, and the option is nice, but I'd be worried about this deal if I were the Indians. Hafner's not a young player - he got a late start to his career and is already 30. Moreover, he's already showing signs of decline, hitting just .262/.397/.452 this year. And he's a big dude and an immobile career DH; he's not the sort of player who ages well. Finally, they already had him signed through 2008. It may well turn out that he won't be worth a multi-year contract after that anyway. This is a rare bad move for the Indians - think of the way Mo Vaughn's career ended. That's the downside.

-P- The Mets have hired Rickey Henderson to be their new hiting coach, replacing Rick Down. I guess Rickey has given up those aspirations of returning to the big leagues as a player - Oakland had offered to let him join the roster for a day in September so that he could retire as an Athletic, but I suppose he won't be doing that. I don't know what kind of coach he'll be - Henderson famously had trouble remembering his teammates' names, so one wonders how relatable he'll be - but his approach as a hitter when he played was outstanding, and the game is better when Rickey is in it. Here are a couple pages of Rickey quotes. Here's my favorite:

And, one final story I came across was a bizarre shouting match Rickey had with none other than El Duque during a spring training game in 2002. It wasn't clear what exactly bothered El Duque. He began yelling and they eventually had to be held back. "He needs to grow up a little bit," Rickey said. "I ain't a kid. When I broke into the game, he was crawling on his hands and knees. Unless he's as old as I am. He probably is."
-P- The Mets weren't the only team to get a new hitting coach - the Diamondbacks replaced their hitting coach, Kevin Seitzer, with Rick Schu. I'm not sure what kind of coach Schu will be, but the D'Backs needed to make a change. If you're a subscriber, go back and look at the PECOTA projections for Diamondbacks hitters. They barely resemble what has actually happened. Arizona has a ton of young hitters, and every one of them except Mark Reynolds has underperformed. Chris Young, Stephen Drew and Carlos Quentin are way too good to have OPSes around .700 or lower, especially while playing in that ballpark. For the future of the club, the Diamondbacks must get these guys on track.  Also, they may still make the playoffs if they start hitting at all. They're only two and a half games behind the Wild-Card leader right now.