The Chicago Cubs may have found some power for the middle of their lineup. The Cubs have reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with outfielder Scott Hairston. Including incentive clauses, the deal is worth up toward $6 million. The deal is pending a physical.
Hairston has spent the last two seasons with the New York Mets. In 2012, Hairston had one of his best seasons. 48 of his 99 hits were extra-base hits. His 20 home runs were a career high. For his career, Hairston has a .302 on-base percentage (OBP), .247 batting average, 279 RBI and 95 homers. He has a poor strikeout-to-walk ratio (507-to-162). He had a wins above replacement score of 1.5.
Hairston has the versatility to play all three outfield positions. He could fill a platoon role with David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz. Expect Hairston to see most of his at-bats as the No. 5 or No. 6 hitter. His numbers are much better against left-handed pitchers.
At age 32, Hairston is another stopgap player who comes from the bargain bin. The Cubs can certainly use his bat when they face left-handed pitchers. He’ll keep the fort down until prospects such as Jorge Soler and Albert Almora are ready. Other than that, Hairston isn’t part of any long-term solution.
What this signing means is that Brett Jackson will almost certainly start the season at Triple-A Iowa. Jackson was overwhelmed in his MLB debut. He had a .175 batting average with nine RBI and four homers. At age 24, the former first-round pick should get one more promotion before he’s labeled as a bust.