The Dodgers are looking for outfield depth this shopping season, also known to us as the hot stove. The starting Dodger outfield is all set though for 2013. The Dodgers will be going with Matt Kemp in center field, (of course), Carl Crawford in left field, and Andre Ethier in right. And no we’re not trading Andre Ethier.
So when the Dodgers say they’re looking for outfield depth, what they really mean, is they are looking for a fourth outfielder. The role of the fourth outfielder can be a very important one. This season Tony Gwynn Jr. and Juan Rivera have provided fourth outfielder type roles with the Dodgers. The Dodgers recently declined Rivera’s option, and Tony Gwynn Jr. can’t hit. So today we’ll be discussing a possible fourth outfielder target, Scott Hairston.
The fourth outfielder’s main job is to provide depth to the three starting outfielders. He also needs to swing a decent bat and be able to come off the bench and provide late inning pinch-hits. The fourth outfielder should be able to play all three outfield positions without trouble. The Hairston family has been playing Baseball since men were living in caves or something. Scott Hairston, is the younger brother of Dodger’s bench guy Jerry Hairston Jr.
Scott Hairston is 32 years old, and originally drafted by the Dbacks in the third round of the 2001 amateur draft. Hairston didn’t make his MLB debut until 2004 with Arizona. Hairston originally from Fort Worth Texas, played for four seasons in Arizona before they traded him to San Diego in 2007. Hairston played for the Padres from 2007-2009, before he was traded to Oakland. After spending a half of a season in Oakland, he was traded back to the Padres for the 2010 season. After spending the 2010 season in San Diego, Hairston signed with the New York Mets in 2011. Hairston a career .247 hitter has played most of his career as a utility player, coming off the bench to play all three outfield positions and a little bit of second base. In his rookie season with Arizona he began at second base before moving to the outfield.
While in San Diego, the right handed hitting Hairston hit a home run in three consecutive at-bats, which was spread over two games, the first being the game where Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron’s all time home run record. While with San Diego, Hairston went on to hit 12 home runs in late and clutch situations, including three walk-offs. Not only was Hairston known for coming through in the clutch, he was known for doing his best work against the Giants. Of his 95 career home runs, 14 have come against the Giants. That’s the most for him against any team. Not bad at all right? Since we need someone who can pinch-hit, let’s take a look at Hairston’s numbers as a pinch-hitter. Hairston’s career pinch-hitting stats look pretty good. Hairston is hitting .283 as a pinch-hitter (32 for 174), and has hit nine pinch-hit home runs. His other career splits look just as good. Against lefties he has a career .825 OPS, and a line of .276/.325/.500. During 2012 for the Mets, he hit lefties to a tune of .286 (54 for 189) with 11 home runs, and an .867 OPS.So he hits lefties well, he can pinch-hit, and he also had a great season with the Mets in 2012. Because the Mets had so many injuries this season, Hairston saw more playing time then he would normally get, and he was able to make the best of it. Hairston played in 134 games with the Mets in 2012. He put up a line of .263/.299/.504, (99 for 377) which comes out to an OPS of .803. He hit 20 home runs, drove in 57 runs, and walked 19 times while whiffing 83 times. If you’re wondering why his OBP is so low, it’s probably because he only drew 19 walks, against his 83 whiffs. Defensively Hairston has played the most games in left field, but has played a lot of games in center field. He can play all three outfield positions with ease. He’s played 338 games in left field with a +3 runs above average rating, and a .984 fielding percentage. Hairston has played 149 games in center field posting a -1 runs below average rating, and a .983 fielding percentage. He has 71 games in right field, and he’s played 87 games at second base. He’s been ranked average to at least above league average at all three outfield positions.
Now what would Hairston cost in salary requirements? Not very much I can tell you. In 2012 he signed a one year 1.1 million dollar contract with the Mets, and he is a free agent this winter. I’m sure the Dodgers could throw a couple of million at him. Chump change.
I think Hairston would be a good fit for the Dodger bench, and not just because he’s JHair’s brother. Scott Hairston is a versatile player, who can play all three outfield positions. He hits lefties well, he can hit for power, and he can come off the bench and pinch-hit. That’s basically the definition of the fourth outfielder job. I think Hairston can handle the role. What do you think? Are two Hairstons better than one?