Scott Hairston would be a really nice sign by the Yankees (they've even expressed interest in him numerous times this off-season), though he doesn’t come without flaws. Over the last two years and 287 plate appearances, Hairston has hit .274/.314/.504 with 12 home runs against left handed pitching. The power is very nice, but a .314 on-base percentage is less-than-stellar, to put it nicely. However, that shouldn’t stop the Yankees from signing him. It is imperative that the Yankees sign a righty outfield bat that can hit lefty pitching since all three of the current outfielders are left handed.
Now, what if the Yankees don’t sign Hairston? Well, they would need to look at the possible trade options, as the free agent market for righty outfield bats is very, very weak (see the list HERE). The team has reportedly shown interest in Vernon Wells (read SHOULD VERNON WELLS GO TO THE YANKEES?) Quick analysis regarding Wells: Stay away. Over the last four years and 556 plate appearances, Wells has hit .232/.297/.404 against left handed pitching. The Yankees are looking for an outfielder that can hit left handed pitching, and Wells hasn’t been able to do that for a while now. Add in the fact that he has a terrible contract (The Angels would have to eat nearly all of the remaining $42 million owed to him the next two years) and doesn’t do anything moderately well nowadays, the Yankees should pass on Wells.
Alfonso Soriano. Like Wells, Soriano is due a lot of money the next two years – $36 million, to be exact—so the Cubs would have to eat a large portion of that deal. The Cubs, according to Jon Heyman (HERE), are reportedly willing to eat $26 million while also receiving the “right” prospect in return. Your guess is as good as mine as to what prospect they’d want in return for Soriano.
Alex Rodriguez being out for the unforeseeable future, Soriano would be able to soak up the DH at-bats before Rodriguez returns. The problem, though, is that Soriano wouldn’t have a position once ARod comes back (Assuming Kevin Youkilis is healthy enough to play third base and ARod comes back to be the full-time DH.), so maybe that's a roadblock that may not get resolved.
We can look through all the free agent/trade candidates after Scott Hairston, but most, if not all, aren’t as good as fits as Hairston is. Though it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, it could be a problem if the Yankees don’t sign him. I have no idea how contract negotiations are going between the two sides, but I wouldn’t doubt the Yankees being sort of reluctant to sign him to a multi-year deal, as the team wants to have the most money freed up for 2014 as possible. We’ll see how this one plays out, but it’d be great if the Yanks could fill this need of a righty outfield bat by signing Hairston.
--Jesse Schindler, BYB Lead Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter @SchindlerJesse
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