One of the few bright spots for the New York Mets last season was the play of Scott Hairston, who hit 20 homers and drove in 57 runs despite getting just 377 at-bats.
Hairston has been considered by most to be more of a lefty basher than viable everyday outfielder, hitting .286 against southpaws vs. just .239 against righties in 2012. For the Mets, who hit just .246 as a team against lefties last year, bringing back the 32-year-old free agent would be a welcome reunion, but it has long been believed that his 2012 performance likely priced him out of the team’s price range. That scenario may have changed, however, once the team reached a settlement with recently released Jason Bay and were able to defer some of the money owed to the free agent bust in 2013. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently said that the way the release was structured may help the team bring back an outfielder like Hairston:
It’s more likely Scott Hairston returns, Alderson said: “I think it helps. As I said, it gives us more flexibility and it subtracts one more candidate from our outfield. So in both ways it probably enhances Scott’s chances of coming back.”
The team may want and even make an effort to bring Hairston back, but in doing so will face some stiff competition for his services from several teams, including the Yankees, according to Dan Martin of the New York Post:
Photo by Michael G. Baron
The Yankees continue to have conversations with Hairston, who is coming off arguably his most productive offensive season when he hit 20 homers and knocked in 57 runs with an OPS of .803 in part-time duty with the Mets last season.
The Yankees have already had preliminary discussions to bring back Raul Ibanez after a solid first season with the club. And, with Nick Swisher set to leave town, Hairston would provide right-handed power in the outfield, something the Yankees currently lack.
And in the wake of Torii Hunter signing with the Tigers, Hairston could fit into an outfield platoon and give the suddenly cost-conscious organization a more affordable option.
Of course, there is a reason Hairston would come at a lower price, since there is a danger in signing the 32-year-old. He is just two years removed from a disastrous season at the plate with the Padres, when Hairston hit just .210 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs and a career-low .640 OPS in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.”
I guess the question is just how low is low when it comes to Hairston’s price tag. Keeping in mind that ‘low’ means one thing for the Yanks and another for the Mets, if a bidding war breaks out there’s a good chance the 32-year-old returns to New York next season, just not in a Mets uniform.