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Roster review: Scott Hairston

Oct 31, 2013, 6:00 AM EST

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Age on Opening Day 2014: 33

How acquired: Traded from Cubs for RHP Ivan Pineyro and player-to-be-named, July 2013

MLB service time: 8 years, 102 days

2013 salary+bonuses: $2.5 million

Contract status: Signed for $2.5 million in 2014 (Cubs will pay $500,000 of that), free agent in 2015

2013 Stats (Nats only): 33 G, 62 PA, 5 R, 13 H, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB, 2 BB, 19 SO, .224 AVG, .246 OBP, .379 SLG, .625 OPS, 1 E, -4.5 UZR, -0.7 WAR

2013 analysis: The Cubs signed Hairston to a two-year, $5 million contract last winter, but the veteran outfielder didn’t get a whole lot of playing time in Chicago and wound up hitting .172 in 55 games (though he did club eight homers). With the Nationals desperate to bolster a woeful bench, Mike Rizzo acquired Hairston on July 8, hoping the player he drafted 12 years earlier with the Diamondbacks could fill a much-needed void.

Hairston’s numbers did improve following the trade, but he still didn’t produce much for the Nationals, hitting .224 with a paltry .246 on-base percentage in 33 games. Hairston did do a solid job in the department that mattered the most to the Nats: He hit .271 with a pair of homers against left-handers. Opportunities, however, were few and far between.

2014 outlook: Rizzo acquired Hairston not only to help the Nationals this year but also knowing he was already signed for next year as well, so the veteran will be counted upon to deliver off the bench again.

New manager Matt Williams, though, will need to find ways to use Hairston in a manner that best utilizes his strengths. The best way to keep Hairston fresh enough to be productive as a pinch-hitter is to give him more regular at-bats in the lineup, so that could mean more starts against lefties, even if it forces Bryce Harper or Denard Span to the bench every once in a while.

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    a player needs more than 62 PA to get a review. I will keep him around for next season.

    • David Proctor - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:04 AM


      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:12 AM

        do you use him against all left-handers?

      • jd - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:29 AM


        Absolutely, A good manager will find a way to get the most out of his bench players while keeping his regulars fresh. Moore needs a lot of at bats as well and so will whoever they choose as the left handed bench bat and the utility infielder. The backup catcher also needs to play once or twice a week.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    OK, he can hit lefties, but I sure don’t like his fielding in general, and he never had much of an arm. Really, how often do you really want to sit Harper, or Span, to suffer his defense? I’d rather see Corey Brown up here.

  3. tcostant - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    Mark Zuckerman @ZuckermanCSN
    And with that, I guess it’s time to stare out the window and wait for spring.

    Me: No doubt this is correct!

  4. Joe Seamhead - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I think that pitchers and catchers report in 102 days.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    I still believe there were much better choices than Hairston for the bench at $2.5 million.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      who do you have in mind? not sarcastically, I am serious. I have no idea what FA market looks like for right-handed bench help.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:47 AM

        The market has to evolve to see what shakes out. I’d be thinking Josh Willingham types that are no longer starters that can hit righties and kill lefties. Hairston is very one dimensional.

      • drazthegr8 - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        Would rather cultivate a young guy like Moore or Walters than have a vet with a low ceiling taking up a spot.

  6. Doc - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Watching the Red Sox, with all their changeable parts, obviously keeping a bench player ready the way it’s done in the AL is easier than in the NL.

    Doesn’t matter whether it’s Cory Brown or Scott Hairston, if they are going to be effective off the bench, they are going to have to be in the lineup with some degree of frequency.

    Time for the NL to go DH.

    • David Proctor - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      “Time for the NL to go DH.”

      Uh…no thanks.

      • NatsLady - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        Agree. No thanks.

        I don’t mind that there are different rules for the leagues, just as there are different configurations for ballparks. (I vastly prefer the NL rules).

        The problem with the bench is not that they were bad (they were) but that they had so much playing time in the first half of the season (and Lombo throughout the season). It’s one thing to keep guys “fresh” and quite another to expect bench players to perform at the level of regulars.

      • Jw - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        Bench players performed at the level of regulars in 2012. Didn’t seem to hurt.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 31, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        as much as we all dislike it, I think it is gonna happen. it is only a matter of when. I think they should just do it and get it over with.

    • NatsLady - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      How about just having a roster of 27 with 25 being allocated to play any given game (this was suggested on another site). Then you can rest two players or keep them off the DL with minor injuries. The AL gets rid of the DH.

      Pitchers should hit, hitters should field. A baseball player should have to be both an offensive and defensive element.

    • tcostant - Oct 31, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      No DH for me either!

    • Joe Seamhead - Oct 31, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      “Time for the NL to go DH.”

      Wash your mouth out!

      • natsfan1a - Nov 1, 2013 at 8:14 AM

        Mouth, heck. Wash your brain out. :-)

  7. langleyclub - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    $2.5 million is an over-pay for a very limited player who can only do one thing: hit left-hand pitching with moderate success. He is a poor defensive player; he can only play corner OF, and is lost against RHP (hit .097 against RHP in 2013; he is a career .226 hitter against RHP). Would far prefer more versatile players on the bench. Rizzo liked Hairston from their time together in Arizona; so, the Nats are stuck with him for 2014.

  8. NatsLady - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    A “roster review” is not going to generate a lot of comments. It’s useful, and I appreciate Mark’s effort, but there’s not a lot to say. Even less to say on the game post for games the Nats aren’t in. Nice to have but not the place where many Nats fans are going to interact.

    The manager search might generate more comments if it were controversial, but most of us simply don’t know enough about Matt Williams. His PED admission is a mild controversy, what else can you know?

    Where you will get comments is when he starts to make choices–lineups, in-game decisions, postgame remarks, etc. He’ll get a “honeymoon” period, but right away in spring training people will look for clues. What will he do differently than Davey, what will he do better–or worse?

    Basically, the managerial candidates (Knorr, Trent, Williams, Ausmus, etc.) are all unknowns as MLB managers. Trying to evaluate them is complete guesswork, even if you have an idea of their personalities and what they did as coaches or minor-league managers. It’s like Supreme Court nominees–you can look at their judicial record, their writing, query their philosophy, but once they get that lifetime appointment, you can’t predict their decisions, at least not with any certainty.

    If the Nats had seriously looked at a Gardenhire or a Sciosca or a Charlie Manuel, boy, then you would have tons of comments because these guys have long records in the spotlight. The only thing you can say about Williams is that he’s young, so if he succeeds, he’ll be here for a while. I figure Randy Knorr will support him wholeheartedly this year, and then go off to his own managerial career. If the Nats go deep in the playoffs, Knorr should be a hot commodity.

    Now is when the “fun” starts for Nats fans. What are Rizzo’s moves this off-season? I, along with a lot of other people, thought he made good moves last off-season, but it didn’t turn out to be enough. Should he be MORE active this year, or go with the core and make moves just around the fringes?

    • Faraz Shaikh - Oct 31, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Not sure about manager’s search, but postseason garnered lot of attention in 2011 when we were not in it.

  9. David Proctor - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Nats just officially announced Matt Williams as manager. Press conference tomorrow.





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