Hairston gives Yanks options

J. HAIRSTON JR.
Say this for the acquisition of the utility man Jerry Hairston: the Yankees have bought into one of the great ball-playing families. Hairston’s brother, Scott, plays for the Athletics. His father, Jerry, was a pinch-hitter for the White Sox for roughly 63 years. His uncle, Johnny, got a cup of coffee with the Reds. His grandfather, Sam, played in the Negro Leagues and briefly made it to the Majors a few years after the color line was broken. There have been more Major League Hairstons than DiMaggios, Niekros, Boones or Bells.

The Hairston under consideration here is 33 years old and, but for a couple of fluke seasons, not much of a hitter. Playing for the Orioles in 2004, he hit .303/.378/.397 in 86 games. Last season he gave the Reds .326/.384/.487 in 80 games. Those numbers stand in stark contrast to his career marks of .259/.328/.372. Even those numbers don’t tell the whole story because Hairston spent 2006-07 hitting .198/.260/.271, then relied on the GAP for his comeback, batting .410/.471/.590 in Cincinnati’s home park. On the road, he hit only .252/.307/.396.

Fortunately, the Yankees didn’t acquire Hairston for his bat, but for his ability to move around the field. This season he’s played everywhere but first base and catcher. Although primarily a second baseman at the outset of his career, Hairston has enough speed that he can move around the field and play competently. Roster flexibility is a virtue, as long as one doesn’t plan on actually making use of it all that much. One assumes that this is curtains for Cody Ransom, which is too bad — as badly as the guy did subbing for A-Rod in April, it was good to see a journeyman get his shot, and he has been passable since coming off of the disabled list, batting .240/.345/.400 in 29 plate appearances. There is no guarantee that Hairston will hit better, but again, the trick is versatility: Ransom was a third baseman-shortstop. Hairston plays everywhere, giving the Yankees more bang for the roster spot.

The Yankees give up a 20-year-old Low-A catcher in Chase Weems in the deal, which isn’t too much given Hairston’s age, ability and one-year contract. Weems hasn’t shown much offensive ability in his 88 pro games, and even were he to blossom, the Yankees are deep enough in catchers that they shouldn’t miss this one.

I’ll be back later today with more trade deadline analysis.

6 Comments

Actually Weems finally looked like he was starting to hit and walk in the weeks leading up to this trade. Hairston Jr. was a guy I had wanted on the bench a few years ago, so of course we get him now. I hope he makes some plays for us.

Cody Ransom Designated for Assignment! I can’t wait until I read that in the transactions section.

Cody Ransom Designated for Assignment! I can’t wait until I read that in the transactions section.

Cody Ransom Designated for Assignment! I can’t wait until I read that in the transactions section.

Jerry Hairston Jr.-well what to say, versatility is great however they have Hinske who can play corner OF and IF positions, Swisher who can play RF and 1B, Gardner in CF…but since JHjr. isn’t much of a hitter do we really need to take Cano, A-Rod, Jeter or anyone else’s bat out of the lineup that badly? Isn’t the reason we sent Ramiro Pena back down to the minors is for him to be a super utility man? Bottom line the move isn’t a terrible, but to see our biggest rival get a huge piece in V-Mart is frustrating when NYY biggest move of the day was JHjr.!!

Did you notice when we picked up Mark Teixeira in the offseason? Our biggest rival just got a far lesser bat cause they whiffed on that same Teixeira. So think of it has them having to take 8 months to come up with a lesser return salvo to our getting Tex.

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