Cubs to sign Scott Hairston

Cubs to sign Scott Hairston

It turns out the Cubs aren't done adding outfielders after all.  They reached a 2 year deal with Scott Hairston, who gives them some power and a RH bat off the bench.  The 32 year old should give them some versatilty as he is able to play all OF positions, though he is best suited for the corners.

UPDATE:  The 2 year deal will be worth up to $6M, which seems to indicate there are some performance incentives.  If so, not a bad deal.

Last year, Hairston put up a slash line of .263/.299/.504.  The number that stands out there is that slugging percentage.  He had a career high 20 HRs last year but has actually been a good power hitter the last two years with ISO rates of .235 and .241, respectively.  Injuries derailed him in 2011.

The most likely scenario right now seems like a platoon with Nate Schierholz, which has some nice power potential for RF.  Hairston had an .867 OPS vs. LHP last season.

The OBP is hard to like but overall Hairston can help the Cubs and take some of the pressure of Soriano and Castro vs. LHP.  It's that last reason that makes this deal worthwhile, in my opinion.

The Cubs now have Soriano, DeJesus, Schierholz penciled in from LF to RF with Scott Hairston and Dave Sappelt getting some time vs. LHP.

As far as a roster move is concerned it's getting harder to envision that the Cubs will have a spot for Tony Campana.  Despite the hero's welcome at the convention, the Cubs may part ways because of his inability to get on base consistently.

Will have more as details come in...


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    don't like the OBP, but some RH power in the OF will be nice. Neither DeJesus nor Schierholz should be playing against lefties.

  • In reply to brober34:

    Exactly. Love the power, which they need, especially vs. LHP. Defense won't hurt you. I'm sure they're realistic about what they're getting here.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You know... Hairston had a similar season offensively than Cody Ross in 2012:

    Hairston: .263/.299/.504
    C. Ross: .267/.326/.481

    With Hairston playing strictly vs LHP, he should be much better as his splits imply... So a platoon of Hairston/Schierholtz can provide at least a combined .270/.320/.450

  • In reply to Caps:

    I like the idea of that platoon. Maximizes both players' values.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, same goes with a Sappelt/DeJesus platoon... DeJesus has been poor vs LHP in the past 2 years and Sappelt has a track record of hitting LHP in the minors and it should help all 4 of them (Sappelt, Hairston, DeJesus, Schierholtz).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, Hairstons ISO was.241 last year. No one on the Cubs came close to that, and that was playing half his games at Citi field. Philly would be the only real hitters park he played more than 6 games in last year, so his power numbers are solid. Im wondering with 400ABs if he can possably reach 30 hrs this year.

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    John, two questions

    1) what is going to happen with the 40 man? There has to be a trade in the works, right?

    2) can Sappelt play center? Could be platoon with Dejesus?

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    I have to think there's no room for Campana right now. Sappelt can play CF but not very well. May need some work with McKay.

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    If it's 4mil a year that seems a bit much for a reserve and someone who really isn't that good..... but he does give the Cubs some extra RH pop and insurance in case Soriano is dealt. Neutral on this move.

    Also I expect Sheirholtz to play against lefties as well until he proves that he can't hit them, similar to the treatment Lahair and Dejesus got early last year. If he proves he can hit LHP then I think he'll be in there everyday. I'm thinking Hairston platoons with Dejesus and spells Soriano a few times a week

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Cubs seem to have indicated the bulk of Schierholz ABs will come vs. RHP. He may get a game or two, but I expect something close to a straight platoon. I do think Hairston can spell Soriano at times to give him a break, especially early in the season. Good call.

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    he maybe can mash LHP, but i don't understand this deal. Can you explain the FO's thinking here

  • In reply to Larry:

    Quite simply it's RH power. The Cubs lacked it. The OF has two players Schierholz and DeJesus who have been more productive vs. RHP and the Cubs need a complement. DeJesus especially has struggled against LHP.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's maximizing production at each position, much like the A's did last year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    80hrs from outfield this year.

  • Two years, up to $6M with incentives. Hard not to like the bat at that price. But the Cubs still dont really have a center fielder...just three guys who can sort of play there.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Just updated. Like the deal. Nice role player for this team.

  • Is Campana a lock to get picked up by another team if they put him on assignment? Or, do you think he will clear and start for the Cubs in the minors if not traded?

    Of course, I'm one of the chorus that really think they should keep this guy around. He would have no problem getting on base if he stuck to his main weapon. The bunt.

  • In reply to givejonadollar:

    If I had a solid team with the luxury of carrying a specialty player, I'd pick him up.

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    This was rumored, so not a total shock. Doesn't think make things potentially pretty crowded in the OF?

    Soriano, DeJesus, Schierholz, Hairston, B-Jax coming, presumably.

    Should be interesting to see how this plays out; Sappelt still has an option left, so he can be sent down, but everyone else has to stay on the ML roster. Of course, I could certainly see trades at some point

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Buys them some time with BJax, who's a huge longshot now to make the team,, though he's still the only true CF'er.

    Sappelt could be sent down but after two good AAA years with Reds and a solid one vs. LHP, a good showing this winter...not sure he has anything left to prove.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    BJax needs to show he can make consistent contact first. Off to AAA to work on his new swing.

  • Meh.

    Two years at $6Mil isn't that bad - I'm just glad it didn't go longer than that. Will spell some guys, maybe get 300 ABs or can slot in if Soriano or DeJesus gets traded.

    It is someone that might make us a bit more competitive over the next two years, but that is about it.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Good role player. Makes lineup vs. LHP much more competitive. Solid add, but nothing to go gaga about.

  • I figured they'd pick up another outfielder, just was hoping it wouldn't be him. He's cheap and I like the power, just not the OBP or the defense. But I trust this FO so much here's the part where the Stepford fan in me kicks in and I get optimistic about it. If this would have come before the Phillies signed Young, I would have thought it portended a Soriano deal on the horizon because of our 40 man sitch. Maybe it still does but seems less likely now.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Defense is passable. Can't get a guy with OBP and power to play a role. Those guys start and make a lot of money.

    When you're adding complimentary pieces you have to make some sacrifices. That's why guys like Hairston are part time players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Looking at individual, I'd like to err on the side of OBP. But looking at the team composite, we can definitely sacrifice a little OBP for our desperate need for right-handed power. I think this'll end up being a steal contract-wise and could net us a nice return if he ends up being packaged at the trade deadline.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I prefer OBP too but if I were to look at the Cubs biggest lineup weaknesses right now (other than OBP), it'd be

    1. their lineup, esp. power vs. LHP -- and esp. for one OF spot and 3B.
    2. the lack of a true CF

    They took care of one of those needs. Hopefully Brett Jackson becomes their true CF'er later in the season. Not sure what's going to happen at 3B vs. LHP...Vitters, Lake maybe later in the season, but for now you have Lillibridge and Maysonet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe Valbuena some? Still lefty on lefty, and his numbers dropped against left handers, but at least they didn't fall off a cliff like Stewart's did last year.

  • If the Tigers didn't sign Young, I might've guessed inking Hairston was a indication of a Soriano - Porcello trade. I'm thinking a two or three team trade might be in the works with Soriano and Marmol being involved. Could we be getting Porcello and some prospects? We still need to clear room for Villanueva and now Hairston.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    I think a trade could be an order but tough to deal Sori and Marmol right now. Tough to deal just one of them, really.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    There has to be some significant roster moves made in short order and we either risk losing them on waivers or pull of a trade.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Problem here is that Soriano wants to stay in Chicago......if he is traded, he will ask the other team for an extension or extra $$$$ to waive his no-trade clause.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Why is that a problem? He's a major contributor and isn't blocking anyone.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    10 and 5 rights.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Sorry, misunderstood your question. Got it now.

  • Campana and John Scott can go start their own runnin 'n punchin league.

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    In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Comcast just reported the Runnin' 'n Punchin' league had their highest ratings ever. :)

  • Another .250 hitter with a woeful OBP. I know we're still rebuilding this year but really?

  • Hairston fills a power/platoon need. I'm hoping Sappelt sticks around as well. BJax should be up by mid-June to take over center . So the mortar has been added to the recycled bricks for 2013. UGH!

  • I think the FO enhanced the ability to platoon which should impact several guys who struggle more against LHP and enhance power a bit. Given today's salaries, I think it not a bad investment.

    Feeling better John? Able to keep down a sip of Scotch?

  • Un-Der Whelming!

    *Clap* *Clap* *Clap Clap Clap*

    Un-Der Whelming!

    *Clap* *Clap* *Clap Clap Clap*

    I guess. I mean at this point what we're they going to do? But talk about a "meh" signing. So a career high of 20 HR counts as good power these days. I'd be happier with this signing if we didn't have 2, maybe 3 other 4th outfielders on the roster already.

    It spares us of the Tony Campana nonsense. So I'm grateful for that. But I see a light offensive team this year... And that kinda blows.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Yeah, I'm feeling the same way Felzz. We couldn't find some RH OFer with a little pop willing to take a spring training invite? Hairston isn't a bad signing. I just kind of ask myself "why?"

  • In reply to Ratmoss:

    There are no minor league FAs on STIs that can give that kind of MLB production. Cubs tried that with Joe Mather last year. They want someone who's at least had a history of success in the majors.

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    In reply to felzz:

    Un-Der Whelming is an Un-Der Statement. I hate this move. It may eventually turn out to be a good move, but I still don't like it.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Felzz, to make you feel better, and to keep up with the Cubs, da Bulls are going to sign Happy Hairston.

  • Justin Upton to the Braves....hmmmmm

    I wonder how this will effect the Cubs.

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    Dempster debacle flashbacks?

  • I just believe we are going to have some hungry guys who will fight this Spring on a position in both outfield and pitching core........we have about 8 pitchers who could start.........pressure will be on BJax to get a chance to play this year at Wrigley if Soriano is not traded........but we all know to well, the Opening Day roster does not match the end of the season roster......half the team could be gone by end of August.........but I am predicting a Cubs Playoff Team this 89 wins........People, we are an over .500 ball club.....lots of balance on this club........and I believe that Ian Stewart will be the major surprise along with few of our pitchers.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Only chance Cubs have for a 85 win team-Stewart returns to the 2009 Stewart, providing 25 HR/90 rbi type punch, Baker and Jackson win 12-15 games apiece, Spellcheck doesn't Regress, Garza is a healthy, 2010 Garza, Soriano stays close to the 2011 Soriano. Right now, Cubs are likely about a 75 win team at best.

  • So there's no spot for Villanueva yet, and the Cubs sign ANOTHER player?

    While the move makes sense, I'm not putting him on the team yet. Anibal Sanchez and all that.

  • Campana has trade value....look for Clevenger to get waived.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I doubt Campana clears waivers, but to say he has "trade value" might be a reach. With only 3 Catchers on the 40 man, I highly doubt Clevenger gets the boot.

    There is not a lot of fat to trim off the roster right now. Campana looks like the most expendable. But now that we need to find 2 spots, we're really stretching it. We've got too many 3B hogging roster spots right now. Something needs to happen there. But I'm not sure who might be the odd man out.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Wrong on both counts.

  • Tony Plush to Japan, Marcum to the Mets.

  • Upton to the Braves...Soriano potential in Baltimore with them out of the Kubel sweepstakes?

  • In reply to Twenty Two:

    Cubs to maybe offer Soriano and more cash in exchange for a PTBNL or 2?

  • Don't count on any Soriano trade now......"if" it happens, maybe end of July......but I see Soriano here for the long run.

  • it's not about the Cubs "offering" Soriano to's about the Cubs asking his permission to trade him. thus far they have received a resounding NO to that question. otherwise he' d be gone already. he will play two more years with the Cubs and retire.

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    I'm glad the Braves made the Upton mistake instead of the Cubs. Bad deal for the Braves.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    While I dislike swapping out Martin Prado at third for Chris Johnson, they didn't give up Teheran or Simmons to get a 5-tool guy who should be a plus defender in LF, and has yet to enter his prime. If playing with his brother can be what finally gets him to play to his potential, the Braves got a total steal, even if Randall Delgado becomes a front of the rotation pitcher.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    Why? He's 25 with a ton of upside, and the Braves didn't give up anywhere near what the Mariners were willing to. Drury, Spruill and Ahmed are fringe prospects.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    From a baseball point of view, the Dbacks lost big when JUp screwed up the trade to Seattle. Tajuan Walker alone is a potential TOR pitcher. After he nixed the Seattle trade(BTW, I said 2 days ago I thought JUP was going to Atl to join his brother), the Dbacks basically had to get him out of town.

  • I'm not crazy about having another Hairston on the roster, but whatever.

  • My question is are we collecting pieces to build on and eventually complete the puzzle of a contending team, or like in Monopoly, are we buying just because the property we landed on in for sale?

    It's not a bad pick up, especially for the price. Yet I'm still trying to figure out the exact motive.

    Crazy like a fox Theo? Or just another buy low - sell high at the deadline?

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    In reply to jaxx51:

    This is all about putting both potential RFers in positions to succeed. Platooning will make them both look better. At least that's the idea, and it's not a bad strategy when you don't have a ML quality RFer on the roster. And if we're way out of it and he's having a decent year, maybe he brings back a low-level prospect with upside. But I think the intention is to keep Hairston around for the year.

  • New here; logging on just to say "hello".

    Will look forward to reading up-to-date Cub news.

  • In reply to silvermoon77:


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    John, I just went and checked Sappelt's splits in winter league and it seems he was great against righties and not very good against lefties. I know in the past it has always been the opposite and it is a very small sample size against not so good pitching but thought the numbers were interesting,

  • This signing doesn't change for runs scored forecast. Really, no one player makes that much of a difference.

    Face it guys, our offense will be ugly again in 2013. Count on it being another long and bitter year in Chicago.

    Still have trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. These baby step value signings are beginning to make me think we are a small to mid market team, instead of a big market franchisee.

    I know, i know that it makes little sense to sign premium talent with so many holes, but this is like watching a B movie unfold at the bargain movie house.


  • I can't take credit for this observation -- I am merely expanding on what was introduced elsewhere by another blogger -- but based on Hairston, Schierholz, DeJesus, Soriano & Sappelt's career numbers, our outfield's extra base power projects at 1 extra base hit per 10.87 plate appearances. Contrast this with that of all MLB outfielders in 2012 which was 1 extra base hit per 12.99 plate appearances. Factor in a platoon system which in theory will goose OPS, and we may just end up with a serviceable outfield offense in 2013.

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