Adam Rubin reported yesterday that Scott Hairston, a free agent, is optimistic that he’ll remain a Met, while the Mets feel similarly.
There’s been much discussion about the idea of Hairston’s return, presumably on a two-year deal for a relatively small amount of money- say, 2/8. Here’s why it doesn’t particularly excite me, nor bother me.
The non-exciting: Hairston will be 33 in May, meaning a two-year deal covers his age 33-34 seasons. So he’s not getting better, has a decent chance of regressing, and with a career OPS against righties of .704, is best deployed in a platoon. He’d likely be returning to the Mets as a starting outfielder. He’s fine, but on a contending team, he’d be a fourth outfielder. On the Mets, he’d immediately become the team’s best outfielder.
The non-bothersome: he’d immediately become the team’s best outfielder. They need three of them, have very little money to spend on the project. So the chances of acquiring three better-than-Hairston outfielders, even without bringing Hairston in, are very slim indeed. And Hairston’s .704 OPS against righties isn’t disastrous, just suboptimal. He’s been better than that in each of the past two seasons against righties, so there’s even a nonzero chance he’s better than the sum of his splits, if that represents a new talent level. If not, the Mets have guys like Mike Baxter on hand for platoon work.
Oh, and here’s a list of outfielders in the Mets’ system he’ll be blocking between now and the end of 2014: [THIS SPACE FOR RENT].
Plus, I like his long home runs. Who doesn’t?
So it’s fine. They aren’t likely to contend with or without Hairston, and he is better than the alternative mediocrities out there who will cost more money. Seriously, Hairston 2/8 or say, Cody Ross, 3/25? It’s not even a question in my mind.
I’d prefer for one year. I’d prefer a starting outfielder with upside. I’d prefer a lot of things.
Scott Hairston, for where the Mets are, is just fine right now. To paraphrase Casey Stengel, without three outfielders, you’ll have a lot of inside-the-park home runs.