Scott Alexander Hairston
DOB: May 25, 1980
Nicknames: None That I’ve Found
Twitter: None that I’ve found
From: Fort Worth, TX
Position: Bench, Primarily OF Hand: Righty
With the Nats Since: Traded for July 7, 2013
The Washington Nationals have an exceptionally poor bench. The Nationals hit Left Handed pitching very poorly. Part of the solution? The Nats hope it will be Scott Hairston. In the league since 2004, Hairston has been a Diamondback, Padre (twice), A, and most recently a Met. You might remember his brother, ex-Nat Jerry Hairston Jr. Let’s talk a bit about why the Nats got him.
Hairston has been a remarkably consistent hitter over his career. You can count on him to hit around 250/300/450 on the slash line, plus or minus a bit. He’s hit around 10 home runs a year (as low as 5 in one year and his most, 20, last year as a Met) with regular playing time. He had some excellent years in Arizona and San Diego, but he really isn’t anyone’s idea of a great every day outfielder. You just sort of know what you’re going to get with him.
Part of his appeal for the Nationals is that, for his career, he hits Lefties much better than he hits righties-a sore spot for the Nationals across the board. The hope is that when Hairston enters the game late off the bench, or gets a spot start against Left handed pitching, he’ll be able to get hits where others have struggled.
Also, while I’m looking at his splits he had 6 Home Runs and 8 RBIs in 108 Plate Appearances against the Nationals (248/287/515).
Thus far this year, Hairston has had his worst year as a player. He signed a 2 year deal with the Cubs at the start of the year, but in 99 At Bats he was hitting just .172 (albeit with 8 Home Runs). Perhaps this is why the Cubs were willing to let him go for minor league pitching. As a National he’s doing worse- just 2 hits in 19 ABs (both singles) with a walk. The worry here is that maybe he really isn’t the same as a bench player as he is a regular player-entirely possible. But a bench guy doesn’t have to have a great average throughout if he can get a few key hits down the stretch-Hairston, like the rest of the Nationals, can’t focus on what has happened already this year. He can right a lot of wrongs over the last two months of the season.
Still, it was a relatively cheap move for the Nationals to get a better left-handed hitter on their bench immediately. He will be under contract for next year, but could easily be traded or cut by the team (as it is only money at this point). If you were pushing me to put a fiver on it, I’d guess he won’t be a Nat next year.