In a solid move sure to warm the cockles of my heart- I enjoy a fourth outfielder more than most- the Mets are bringing back Scott Hairston on a one-year deal worth a reported $1.1 million, if Jon Heyman is to be believed (and why wouldn’t you?).
I liked the move for Hairston last year, and I like it this year. He can play all three outfield positions, or even hold down the fort at second base, hardly a position of strength for the Mets at the moment.
One reason I particularly wanted Hairston last year was his unsustainably bad .236 batting average on balls in play. Interestingly, largely by raising that number to .264, he raised his slash line from .210/.295/.346 to .235/.303/.470. That took him from unacceptable production to really good fourth outfielder production. Truth be told, his 112 OPS+ makes him a reasonable alternative to get more playing time in 2012, given the alternatives the Mets have ready to play the outfield right now.
Worth pointing out: his career BABIP is .277, suggesting some bad luck even last year (though his line drive was down a bit). But his home runs per fly ball rate was elevated in 2011, so regression there should leave him in about the same place in 2012 as he was in 2011.
Which, to circle back, makes him a good signing for $1.1 million. The Mets are better today for adding Hairston.