Oct 31, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT
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.
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