scott hairston metsIt kind of started to feel like this was coming …

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a two-year deal with outfielder Scott Hairston. The terms aren’t yet known, but he had asked the Mets for two years and $8 million (they offered just one year and $2 million). I wouldn’t be surprised if the deal is somewhere close to that range – probably just a touch under. Obviously we’ll wait for an official confirmation.

The Cubs have been looking for a right-handed outfield bat for a while now, and Hairston is a very good one. He’s versatile enough to cover every outfield spot, and he mashes lefties. He’ll likely work as part of an outfield mix – together with Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, and someone like Dave Sappelt – getting starts against both lefties and righties (but primarily lefties). Here’s what I said about Hairston earlier in the offseason as a potential target:

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).

The signing would put the Cubs’ 40-man roster at 42, with Carlos Villanueva also waiting to be added. So there are going to have to be some serious roster machinations, and soon. Hairston’s deal is pending a physical, so there’s some time built in, as there always is.

Obviously we’ll discuss the signing quite a bit more in the coming days, assuming it doesn’t fall victim to the nasty early-report-itis. The early take is that I like the depth (and lineup options) it provides, and it means the Cubs could be more flexible in dealing someone like Alfonso Soriano, if they were inclined to do so. But, make no mistake, signing Hairston does not directly impact Soriano – the Cubs wanted a right-handed outfield bat either way.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman and Bruce Levine have both “confirmed” the signing, so I’m thinking this one is safe.

UPDATE 2: Bruce Levine reports that the deal is worth up to $6 million total, if Hairston reaches certain incentives. This could wind up being a great contract.

  • Featherstone

    I know you reported this early that 4 mil per year on Hairston even leaves some possible surplus value in the contract, how is it possible that NOT a single other MLB team found his request to be reasonable?

    • Brett

      Part of it is the lateness in the offseason – who knows what he was asking for two months ago? Teams have filled up, and his price may have had to come down to a reasonable/attractive level.

  • North Side Irish

    Probably not a good thing for Tony Campana’s future with the organization.

    • Kyle

      I’m pretty sure he’ll survive waivers. I’ll continue to defend his usefulness as a slightly-better-than-replacement-level fifth OFer, but there aren’t very many teams out there with 40-man room and I doubt any of them will use it on Campana.

      • Luke

        Agree on both counts.

        If Campana does go to Iowa, he’ll be part of a pretty interesting group of outfielders: Jackson, Ha, Rohan, Bogusevic, and perhaps one or two more.

        • miggy80

          This years Iowa team is going to be sweet!

    • MichiganGoat

      Unless Sori or DeJesus get moved there is no way Campana doesn’t get dropped from the 40 man. I think the FO values Sapplet over Campana which leaves him without a spot.

  • Featherstone

    Also, what is Hairston’s line against Lefties?

    • North Side Irish

      .286/.317/.550 last year and .276/.325/.500 in his career…not a great OBP guy, but he’s got some pop.

      • Featherstone

        A .825 career OPS against lefties isnt bad at all. I’ll take that in a heartbeat

      • Hansman1982

        A Sappelt, Hairston, Schierholtz rotation in the 3-4-5 OF spots is not bad at all. Hairston and Sappelt (SSS) both had solid wOBA last year.

        Thank god this sends campana to aaa

    • dw8

      Career 19 percent better than league average

  • Brian cubs fan

    it will likely be somewhere around the 6-8 Mil range over 2 years

  • Kyle

    Like I said, this is the kind of five-foot putt that you just have to sink when you’re putting together a roster. We didn’t do it last year and it drove me nuts. If DeJesus and Schierholtz are both in your “starting” OF, then Dave Sappelt (much as I like him) can’t be the only lefty-masher in your OF bench. This move makes perfect sense.

    Soriano in left, DeJesus/Sappelt platoon in CF, Schierholtz/Hairston platoon in RF with Hairston getting some starts in LF too to spell Soriano.

    Then if there’s a Soriano trade, Hairston masquerades as a starter in LF for awhile unless you think Brett Jackson can make the step up at some point.

    • MichiganGoat

      The OF will be quite the rotation next year

      • Luke

        Now the pressure is on Sveum to handle it write.

        And not to Quade it up.

  • King Jeff

    The lefty lineup is going to much more formidable this year. Even if that’s not saying much, at least there shouldn’t be that impending sense of doom every time a southpaw takes the mound for the opponent.

    • Spencer

      Ahhhhh the 2012 lefty lineup. What a shit show.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I knew it would happen.

    Now, it’s time to get serious about trading Garza, Marmol, and Soriano.

    • King Jeff

      What part of this signing gives you the impression that it’s time to trade off some of the team’s best players? In June/July if the Cubs are out of contention is when they need to get serious about trading those guys.

      • MichiganGoat

        Marmol makes sense right now but I agree with your point, let some of the unproven “kids” go through waviers hopefully they’ll clear and we don’t lose anyone.

  • Mat B.

    This might not hurt, but I sure don’t see how it helps, especially with the jammed up roster.

    • Drew7

      Hairston > Campana, Especially against LHP.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Yeah, and if I had to make a choice between getting stuck on a bus with some of my exes, well, I’d pick some over others: but I wouldn’t really be thrilled with the choices…

        • sdcoddi

          where the “like” button when you need it?

  • Timmy

    Man that is one sub-mediocre outfield. Frankly it may be one of the worst 3 in baseball, considering outfielders are often slugger positions.

    • Kyle

      We make up for it in the infield and starting rotation. Yeah, OF is not a strength. If we can stop the bleeding with platoons, I’ll be happy.

    • King Jeff

      If Soriano and Hairston matched their home run totals of a year ago, they would rank pretty highly among outfield slugging combos.

  • Sponge-Bob

    With Nate-The-Great, Harrison, Dejesus, Sappelt, Sori, along with the high upside of Soler and Almora… I highly doubt Brett Jackson Stays on this team..I think he gets traded.

    • Drew7

      It is entirely possible (if not probable) that *none* of the first 5 guys tou mentioned will be around when (or if) the last 2 are ready.

      • Luke

        Sappelt has the best shot, but it would be as a fourth outfielder.

        I don’t see this moving having any bearing on Jackson at all.

  • King Jeff

    When can the Cubs start putting guys on the DL? It would solve some roster problems and there are a few candidates on the 40 man.

    • Kyle

      Not until 45 days before Opening Day, and even then they wouldn’t be eligible to come off until 60 days after Opening Day, so you’d be losing half a season on guys. Can’t do that unless they are legit hurt.

  • Marcel91

    Neutral about this move. He’s not that good a player(terrible OBP, OK defense, strikes out alot, decent power) and 4mil seems much for a reserve if that’s the final number… the same time it makes sense with the current OF setup and the possible departure of Soriano he gives you some extra RH pop which is really all you’d need from him.

  • Spencer

    Do any of Hairston’s incentives have to do with making weight? See: Delmon Young.

  • Oswego Chris

    Please don’t misconstrue what I am saying…but Hairston had a better OPS than every guy starting for the World Series champs except for Buster Posey(and Melky Cabrera…who had help)…this is a very solid signing…professional hitter…sexy offensive numbers are gone…significantly improves team in my opinion….

  • Adam

    Flipable asset. Low cost, decent fill in player when we inevitably unload some guys.

  • Featherstone

    6 mil at most for 2 years of Hairston. This really seems like a low-cost signing, I still cant imagine another team wouldnt just offer him 3 mil per year straight up.

  • Mac

    No scrappy love!

  • another JP

    Nice addition at a decent price… another role player that can give us quality ABs. Have to believe his power and numbers against lefties will really help us this year. $3M AAV for a 1.5 WAR type player isn’t too bad a deal. Unless we trade some players I don’t see how Campana fits into our plans… even Sveum spoke about how he has problems getting on base at the convention.

    • desertrat

      Not to defend Campana, but it is very hard to get on base at a convention.

  • Brian

    Hmm also doesn’t hurt to take this guy off the market while trying to move Sori…

  • MJ

    There’s got to be a trade in the works. They need any kind of assets they can get at this point. I can’t see them DFA’ing anyone to make room for Villanueva and Hairston. Otherwise, they would have done it already. They can’t afford to give up something for nothing right now.

  • hutch

    see ya later campana. Happy to see him hopefully gone now dont have to hear about how good he is on this site

    • MichiganGoat

      So without Campana who takes up the Scrappy Title? Barney for sure except he is already a starter, so who else has scrappy potential?

      • Tyler

        Dave Sappelt is the closest we have to scrappy on the bench. Perhaps Theo & Co. can do some advanced statistical analysis to figure out who led the league in SAR (Scrappiness Above Replacement) and SPA (Scrappy Probability Added), and then we can go out and add some much needed scrap to this roster.

        • Hansman1982

          The only metric worth a damn in evaluating scrappiness is sCRAP+.

          If clevenger survives as the 25th man he leads all comers at 197. Campana will be the cubs #1 minor leaguer at 783.

          All-time leader in sCRAP+ is dick tidrow (only because its dick tidrow). #2 is Theriot at 998

  • hutch

    If we re dfa anyone they have zero trade value. Not getting anything for campana

  • Incredibad

    I’m ignoring the “sources”. No transaction is official until Brett says it is!

  • Drewski

    Is there any chance the Cubs take a flier on Brian Wilson? I understand he wants a major league level gig and having him in the bullpen and recover from his arm injury (Scott Baker-like move) could be a nice flipable piece down the road. Besides, if the Cubs are seemingly looking to trade Marmol, Wilson could provide a nice gap fill if not another solid arm down the road. At this rate it’s worth a look into right?

  • mudge

    Sveum will be managing his ass off this year.

  • Martin

    If Sveum plays the matchups right, the RF platoon could provide >.800 OPS and >5 WAR (which is what they did last year combined). Based on last year’s numbers for RFers, that would be top 8 in baseball. For about $5 million total. Not bad.

    • PKJ

      Well, we couldn’t get Giancarlo Stanton in a trade, so this’ll have to do.

  • PKJ

    Not bad. I like the outfield so far.

    Brett any speculation as to who’ll get cut from the 40 man?

  • Vulcan

    What happened to Bourn?

    • Hansman1982


      The front office is clearly passing on him. Good for them too.

  • Mac

    This FO really likes people named Scott!

    • calicubsfan007

      @Mac: Hahaha! So true!

  • wiscubfan

    boys we are a solid 80 win team now

    • Hansman1982

      I’ve said it for a while. I think the cubs WS winner is gonna be a team that surprises the shit out of everyone.

      This year would fit that bill as we only need about 5 things to go perfectly to reach the playoffs.

      • calicubsfan007

        @hansman: Hey, we have seen crazier things work out in sports. (=