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scott hairston metsScott Hairston has been mentioned as an outfield option for the Cubs around this place only in passing, and only a handful of times. With a report just last week that he was limiting his choices to the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, it didn’t seem like discussing Hairston made too much sense (save for his impact on the Alfonso Soriano trade market).

But apparently the Yankees’ interest in Hairston is tepid, and the Mets, for whom he played last year, recently balked at his reported two-year, $8 million asking price (or did he ask for $8 million each year? Hard to tell from Heyman’s tweet – I’ve asked him to clarify). From there, perhaps Hairston decided to open up his discussions.

To that end, Jon Heyman just reported that, as a non-New York alternative, Hairston has “talked” to the Cubs, specifically.

It makes sense, as it always has. The Cubs are looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder who can play in right field and center field (to spell lefties Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus, together with righty Dave Sappelt), and that’s certainly Hairston. The 32-year-old outfielder can handle all three outfield positions, and put up a nice .263/.299/.504 line over 398 plate appearances last year. Those plate appearances were split evenly between lefties and righties (199 and 199), and his .867 OPS against lefties obviously pulled up his .739 against righties. The latter isn’t horrible, but it’s clear he’s at his best against lefties (.825/.704 split for his career).

If the Cubs could get Hairston on a deal even more favorable than the two years and $8 million he wants (since the Mets aren’t willing to pay that much), then he’s a great asset to bring into the fold. At that price? Well, that’s probably at least his actual value, and might even leave a little room for the all-important surplus value. Given the market, it sure seems like $4 million per year isn’t too much for Hairston to ask – indeed, I really do wonder if he’s asking for $8 million per year. Obviously that would be too much, but isn’t that usually what players ask for?

Lastly, as much as folks have grown weary of hearing it, Hairston on, say, a two-year deal could have trade value, depending on how things shake out over the first few months of the season. Yes, I’m saying he could be a “flippable asset,” depending on he performs (and how the Cubs perform).

Or, his addition could make dealing someone like Alfonso Soriano much more absorbable. Hairston obviously doesn’t replace Soriano’s production, but he’d make the loss of Soriano more manageable. Further, taking Hairston off the market makes Soriano just a touch more valuable.

  • Stu

    What happens to Sappelt?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Cubs can use them both.

      (Then the question is: what happens to Campana? And the answer is probably … eh. Whateves.)

      • MichiganGoat

        SCRAPPY RAGE

        • Capitol Cubbie

          lol ;)

        • Okie Cub

          Goat made me laugh!! Good goat!!

      • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

        Yeah we gotta get our scrap from somewhere!!!

  • http://thesportscritic.com/ Raymond Bureau

    Hairston is a good utility outfielder. Although he would not put the Cubs in the postseason, he would provide some needed veteran presence on a team of youngsters. I would not beg for Epstein to sign Hairston, but I would not complain about it either.

  • Brian cubs fan

    Hairston would be a good addition for 2 yrs and 8 mil for the cubs

  • fromthemitten

    He’s not great, but he could bridge the gap to Soriano.

    • fromthemitten

      and fwiw Mike Taylor on the boards has been linking them for months now

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Smart dude.

        • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

          I hear he’s a witch. ;)

          • Jimmy james

            Tis true…Ihe turned me into a newt

            • MichiganGoat

              Does he weigh more than a duck?

              • Cubbie Blues

                Burn him!!!

            • hardtop

              i got better…

    • fromthemitten

      and I meant Soler not Soriano

  • SirCub

    I like this. It kind of seems to me like every other signing the Cubs have made: low risk, no commitment, why not?

    It’s like the Cubs are becoming the Dodgers Lite, by signing ALL the back-end starters and platoon outfielders. Really, its a great strategy in light of your last point, Brett. Scoop up all of these guys, so that if anybody wants them, they’ve got to deal with you.

    • baseballet

      It’s worthwhile to sign some low risk, low money players. But you don’t want to make that your only strategy for several years in a row. It would make the Cubs the dollar store at the mall. There are a lot of baseball games to be played before Soler, Almora and Baez are ready. Those games should not feature only players drawn from the discard pile.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    My recollection was he was looking for a 2 year $15 million dollar deal & the Yankees had told him no. I don’t remember what site that information was on.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I vaguely recall that as well, which is what made me wonder. Hopefully Heyman clarifies.

  • North Side Irish

    I’m glad Brett asked Heyman to clarify the salary because I read his original Tweet as 2 years for a total of $8M which seemed like a no-brainer to me. But I think going over $8M per for Hairston is a bit steep for a guy with his track record.

    • hardtop

      dude, totally. hairstons maybe a 12 for 2 guy, to a team thats need veteran depth but is otherwise pretty well set with playoff caliber pieces. we could have got ross at less than 8 mil a year (but 3 years)

  • Noah

    I’d say this: if we had Hairston and presumably straight platooned DeJesus/Hairston in center and Schierholtz/Sappelt in right, we’d be able to make a pretty solid offensive outfield. Just out of 5 players getting regular playing time. Because neither DeJesus nor Schierholtz should see a handful of PAs against lefties.

  • Luke D

    Not liking that OBP. But it would make sense.

  • Jackalope

    That’d be sweet. Hairston and Chris Brown, who played football for Colorado and the Titans, were both in my gym class at Naperville North. Nice playing softball and flag football with two future pros!

  • walterj

    At 8 million a year , I hope not .

  • Whiteflag

    It seems without the no-trade clauses any player could be considered a “flippable asset.”

  • Bigg J

    8 million/year is just a little too much and if he doesn’t produce as expected then he is going to be a tought flipable piece at that price. The Cubs will have to eat more money. I would give him 2 yrs/10 mil with possibly a club option.

  • Gcheezpuff

    Hard to swallow this unless the Cubs get a good return for Soriano and potentially trade Hairston later, otherwise you are basically spending whatever you save by trading Soriano on a lesser player. Don’t really see a win on the MLB team unless something good comes back in a trade.

  • Capitol Cubbie

    Even if they overpay for someone like Hairston, it’s not like they’re sunk by tying up 8M for two years. Then, if he does produce well enough to be traded and you have to eat some of his salary to do so, it’s like you just bought the other team’s prospects for a few million. Obviously there’s more risk (maybe he doesn’t perform well enough, maybe there’s little demand even if he does above average), but if you can turn $8M (assuming other team will pay $8M for 1.5yrs of Hairston) into an organizational top-15 prospect and a flyer, in a climate where prospects are hard to come by, I don’t see it as too much of a loss.

    • Capitol Cubbie

      Eh, that may be a little much in return for Hairston. But still, I’m all for turning cash (what the Cubs have) into prospects (what the Cubs want) in any way possible.

  • Marc N.

    Hairston’s a strong bat agains lefties. Amongst the OFers the only guys who ht lefties are Soriano and Sappelt.

    I’d be down for 2/8, which would a raise.

  • Dustin S

    From what I’ve read on other sites, his request was for 2 years 8M total (4M per). That’s not out of line really IMO for a guy that hit 20HR in only 377 AB. He always seems to be a decent clutch hitter from what I remember too. The team definitely has the budget money for him if they want him.

    Also, like you mentioned taking him off the market does thin it to the point that Soriano may finally at long last have some interest. Soriano’s kind of like the car in the lot or house on the market that’s been for sale for so long that no one will buy it, for fear that something has to be wrong with him to not be grabbed by now.

  • Fastball

    I don’t like Hairston. I pass on him. I hope we don’t sign him. He is 32 yr old non starter who serves no purpose for this team. I would rather see how our younger players shake out (not Campana). I would like to see Jr. Lake surprise everyone

    • Patrick

      So happy somebody said it…I totally agree. Waste of 8-10 mil for lefty platoon guy for a losing team… No thanks.

  • Blublud

    Did you really say to spell lefty Nate Shierholtz. Really. If we sign Hairston, he will start over Shierholtz. Every outfielder we have is better then Shierholtz.

    Starters would be Soriano, Dejesus and Hairston. When Hairston needs a spell, Shierholtz might get to play. Shierholtz is probably not a starter without Hairston, difinitely not with him.. He’s Mather pt II

  • Fastball

    Hairston gives me the Jeff Baker flashbacks. He hits lefties and he doesn’t really have a position that he is even average at. He can get by for a few days but he isn’t an everyday guy. He wants about double what I would give him. I don’t see the value. Just not impressed.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I’ve already said why Hairston makes sense for us, which is why I didn’t foresee the Schierholtz signing coming. Assuming that we’re offered something we like from Philly or Texas or Baltimore or Tampa for Soriano… Signing Hairston would sustain that veteran presence, have a two-year stop gap in LF/RF that can platoon when need be, and not take away essential at bats from the young kids (Jackson, Soler, etc). Schierholtz (and possibly DeJesus as well) will only be with the team until the trade deadline, so Jackson can come up for an OF spot.

    If we land Olt in a deal for Garza, it would seem like Vitters or Lake would be moved to the OF. I believe Stewart’s contract isn’t guaranteed, so he could lose out to Vitters (or Olt) in Spring Training and save us a couple bucks.

    LF Hairston
    CF DeJesus (L) / Sappelt
    RF Schierholtz
    1B Rizzo (L)
    2B Barney
    3B Olt
    SS Castro
    C Castillo / Navarro
    IF Valbuena (L)
    UT Lillibridge or Gonzalez
    OF Campana (L) or McDonald
    SP Samardzija
    SP Baker
    SP Jackson
    SP Feldman
    SP Villanueva
    RP Wood (L)
    RP Russell (L)
    RP Wade or Chapman or Carpenter
    RP Rondon
    RP Camp
    RP McNutt (if Marmol is traded)
    CL Fujikawa

    Post-deadline
    LF Hairston / Vitters or Lake
    CF Jackson (L)
    RF DeJesus (L) / Sappelt
    1B Rizzo (L) / Olt
    2B Barney
    3B Olt / Vitters or Lake
    SS Castro
    C Castillo / Navarro’s replacement
    BN Valbuena (L)
    UT Lillibridge
    SP Samardzija
    SP Jackson
    SP Villanueva
    SP Wood (L)
    SP Negrin
    LR Bowden
    LR Raley (L)
    RP Rondon
    RP Parker
    RP McNutt
    SU Russell (L)
    CL Fujikawa

    • Carew

      For the bullpen you proposed, could Tony Zych (spelling?) be an option as well? I read somewhere (probably here) that he may be the most major league ready bullpen arm. I’m just curious.

      • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

        I’d say Ty’Relle Harris (guy we got in the DLee trade) is more major-league ready than Zych. Of course, we’ve been using him in spot starts (as well as the team he plays for in the off season league). He’d be the perfect setup guy, because his ERA is always lower as a reliever. He’ll start the season in AAA and should make a September call up and then the 2014 team.

        Zych needs to close games in Iowa before becoming a bullpen option. It’ll be a competition for AAA closer between Frank Batista and Tony Zych before the season starts.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        It’s not out of the question, but Zych would need to make a pretty big step forward to stick in the majors right now. He still needs a lot of refinement.

    • Twinkletoez

      If we trade,
      Garza
      Baker
      Feldman
      Soriano
      Marmol

      And the only player back in the lineup after the deadline is Olt, I will be very disappointed

  • Crazyhorse

    Gather enough flippable assets and the Cubs will increase its chances of having back to back 100 plus loss seasons. –

  • Die hard

    Thought rebuilding with kids over next several seasons was plan?

    • Carew

      You still gotta have veterans and try to be competitive…

      • Die hard

        Look how far that took the Bears

        • Carew

          Difference for me is that I actually like the cubbies. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist.
          Panthers-Super Bowl 48! :)

    • Crazyhorse

      Yes, and its still an embarrassment. 61 wins and 101 losses is reality

      • Carew

        I say that will not happen again. 90 perhaps, but not triple digits. I feel Epstein and Hoyer, themselves, would be royally POed.

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          It seems like the front office is operating under the assumption that another terrible season will hurt them with free agents when they decide to make their bigger push. I don’t think there will be near as much flipping as people assume.

          • Mick

            I’m assuming Soriano, Marmol, and Garza will be flipped. I’m tentative to think DeJesus, Schierholtz, Baker, Feldman, and Barney as trade or waiver deadlines depending on how the chips fall. I’ll politely disagree that trading this entire list would deter next offseason’s free agents from signing with the Cubs. We’re going to have a lot of money to throw around and plenty of playing time to go around.

            • mudge

              I wouldn’t expect much of a flap over the flipping either.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    We have a lot of kids that the FO likes, they like them so much that they’re trying to make them starters. Alberto Cabrera, Michael Bowden, Lendy Castillo, etc. We’ve got some good relievers in the minor league system as well. Diaz and Wade are great NRI pickups. If Arodys Vizcaino puts some quality innings on his arm this year, he could be our #2 starter next year (unless we re-sign Baker, then he’d slot to #3).

    If we acquire offensive talent at the expense of our starting rotation this year (like Olt in a deal for Garza), we can afford to splurge on one big bat (like Cano) next year and be truly competitive. Baez and Soler should be in the ML mix next season as well, so there’s a lot to be excited about.

  • wiscubfan

    boys if we sign Hairston we will be a 500 + club

    • Patrick

      Haha nice one!!

  • jt

    Me likes the Hairston idea. He could play a role without hoging long term financial resources or long a long term spot on the roster if someone who is actually outstanding becomes available either as a FA or from a trade.
    Wouldn’t expects wonders from it but here is hopin’ that they go for it.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Very good fundamental ballplayer. And of course it is 8 million a year he wants. He was a 2.0 WAR player last season. You can make a case that he is worth 9-10 million a year with that same production.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      A good fundamental player? His career OBP is a dreadful 0.302. The single most fundamental aspect of baseball is don’t make outs: and this guy makes a lot of them. The other team pays the pitcher plenty to get Cubs out: I recommend making them earn their pay. Letting Hairston play for another team is a good way to do that.

      • Patrick

        Once again agree with the doc

  • Mattm

    Actually, I think he is a starter in right and Dejesus is the odd man out. Scherholz in Center is still an upgrade over what we had last year and Hairston is def an upgrade offensively over Dejesus.

    If the Cubs get Hairston to me I see Dejesus getting traded. Or another possible is that it says the Cubs were holding of on the Phillies trade for Soriano and Brown I think it is becuase they thought it was too much of a loss. If they get Hairston it still brings some pop to the outfield and makes the Soriano trade more manageable.

  • steve

    I’d like this signing. A platoon of Schierholz and Hairston could give us some pretty respectable numbers in RF. I can see them combining to give us a stat line something like this- .280avg, 60 runs, 70 RBI, 24HRs, 15 SB, not allstar production, but much better than last year, IMo with very good defense. If this is the platoon, RF won’t be a blackhole production wise. Trade Garza for Olt, and a prospect or two, and then 3B will be as promising. We could possibly be a wild card at the best. At worst we have another flippable piece, or something we could add with a better piece for a bigger trade return.

  • Mike

    I’d rather see the Cubs sign another bench guy like Chone Figgins (very versatile in IF and OF), Aubrey Huff (PH, 1B and LF) or Carlos Lee (1B and LF) to a minor league or low-risk major league contract, than Scott Hairston. Hairston is not worth his asking price. The Cubs could get the three other players I mentioned for less money one a one year contract, and, in my opinion, a better probability of higher upside for one season.

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