With all the talk about free agent signings this year there has been one name that hasn’t been discussed. Is it because he isn’t viewed as a potential starter for most teams and seen primarily as a platoon player or 4th outfielder type of role? The one person that pops into my head as a potential low risk, high reward type of player Tampa looks for is none other than Scott Hairston.
Now throughout his career Hairston hasn’t been the most consistent of batters and has been used as a utility player throughout his career but has some positives going for him that could be a perfect fit with the Rays. In 2012 with 189 AB against lefties Hairston managed a .286/.317/.550 line, 17 doubles, 11 HR, and 27 RBI. Throughout his entire 9 year career with multiple teams Hairston’s numbers particularly don’t blow you away with a .247 BA, .302 OBP, and only 95 HR but he has several things going for him that Tampa could use. Position flexibility with Hairston able to play all 3 outfield positions as well as some second base. Couple that with the fact that he has only earned over $1.25MM in his career once and the Rays could have him at a low cost. With the free agent market closing fast and Jonny Gomes basically setting the market for right handed power bats with his astonishing two year $10MM deal with the Boston Red Sox and Hairston rumored to wanting a multi year contract and it seems unlikely for the cash strapped Rays, especially with both the Yankees and Mets being interested parties for his services. I suspect a two year deal somewhere in the range of $6MM-$8MM which typically is out of range for Tampa but stranger things have happened. Scott Hairston was recently quoted as saying…
“Things are starting to pick up now that the market is settling in,” said Hairston. “Still unsure where I’ll sign, though. There are a lot of trades happening around the league, so it’s possible that interest may rise in the next few days. My agent has been in contact with [Mets GM Sandy Alderson], so he is aware I want a multiyear deal.”
Last season alone Hairston showed some pop in the bat with 20 HR in just 398 AB. At such a low risk why wouldn’t Friedman want to take a chance on Hairston to at the very least give Joe Maddon and the Rays some depth. At worst he could be moved at the trade deadline for a prospect if the Rays do happen to be out of contention.