Hey Bill, do you read Pluto? here's what he had to say, in his newsletter....
First base is another excellent situation.
Ben Broussard and Travis Hafner have both been hitting. After a shaky start in the field, Hafner has settled down defensively. Broussard is very good with the glove.
I still see Hafner winning the job, Broussard opening at Class AAA Buffalo. Hafner has more Class AAA experience, and is a more disciplined hitter. But Broussard is now showing people why he won the Class AA Southern League batting title in 2001.
Neither of them has the raw power of Jim Thome. But think about the length of the contract and the staggering amount of dollars that would have been required to keep Thome. Then think about his possible back problems. So not signing him may turn out to be a huge blessing for the Tribe.
Especially if Hafner and/or Broussard come through.
Ben Broussard rounds third base after smacking a two-run home run off Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Cliff Politte.
Obviously, there is the typical March disclaimer next to this and everything else I'm writing: THIS IS JUST SPRING TRAINING AND IT'S EASY TO BE FOOLED.
But it's hard to ignore a minor league track record, and Hafner has a .317 batting average over his last four pro seasons.
Broussard was off to a good start at Class AAA Louisville last season, batting .273 with 11 HR and 30 RBI in 57 games before he was traded to the Tribe. He was then moved from first base to left field. The Indians said they'd give him a month at Buffalo to learn the new position.
The trade was made on June 7, and he was called up on June 23. In two stints with the Tribe, Broussard batted only .241 with 4 HR and 9 RBI in 112 at-bats. He had the lousy ratio of seven walks to 25 strikeouts.
Coming to the big leagues and having to play the outfield was just too much for him, as he seemed overwhelmed. He also thought he had to hit for instant power, and developed some bad habits in terms of a long, slow swing.
The plan seems to be for Broussard to go to Buffalo and be ready when Ellis Burks is traded, which may happen sooner than later as there will be a good team in need of a right-handed bat.
Then Broussard will be recalled and Hafner will take over at DH for Burks.
At least, that's my prediction based upon some conversations with Tribe officials.