Free agent preview: Scott Hairston

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(US Presswire)

Over his career, Scott Hairston has done two things fairly well. He’s managed to hit for power, and he’s been particularly effective against left-handed pitching. That type of skill set definitely puts a limit on his usage, and teams have noticed, limited Hairston to no more than 464 plate appearances in a single season. Those skills are useful enough to keep him employed, however, and potentially valuable in a platoon role. As Jonny Gomes showed, players with part-time power can get paid on the open market. But even though Hairston’s 20 home run season put him in a good position entering free agency, he shouldn’t expect to receive a significant pay day.

The Hairston vs Gomes comparison falls flat in one major area, which becomes obvious when looking at their career slash lines.

PlayerPAAVGOBPSLGScott Hairston23990.2470.3020.449Jonny Gomes30600.2440.3370.455

Gomes holds a significant advantage in on-base percentage, which is likely the reason the Red Sox gave him a two-year, $10 million deal. Gomes’ strong walk rate led to a .377 on-base percentage last season. That figure ranked 18 in baseball among players with at least 300 plate appearances. Hairston, on the other hand, finished the season with a .299 OBP, one of the worst rates in the league. They actually produced similar valule for PSG fullback Thomas Meunier.Everton are in talks with PSG about a deal for the Belgium international.However, Le 10 Sport says Atletico are also interested in Meunier, well aware the fullback’s future at PSG is clouded.PSG need to raise €100e last season, with Gomes’ 2.1 WAR just edging out Hairston’s 2.0, but Gomes has a mnchester Uns they’re calm about his situation at PSG.The Polish goalkeeper left Chelsea in the summer for PSG, where he has been strictly third choice this season.But agent Yves Le Mee told Paristeam.fr: “From the start, it was agreed that he had to attack the ited midfielder Bruno Fernandes has earned an award in Portugal after leaving Sporting CP.Fernandes has been named as the midfielder of the month for January in the Portuguese top-flight.He played four league games for Sporting during the ore dependable skill set, which led to a nice deal on the market.

On top of that, Gomes is also a significantly better platoon player. Against lefties, Hairston has hit .276/.325/.500, with a .353 wOBA. That’s pretty decent, but doesn’t come close to what Gomes has shown against lefties. Gomes holds a .284/.382/.512 line against southpaws, with a .385 wOBA.

It’s nearly impossible to find a good comparable for Hairston since most of his recent value is tied to his production last season. Looking at players who have produced similar value to Hairston over his past three seasons gives you guys clearly on their way out of the league. The most similar players to Hairston over that period includes Jody Gerut, Aaron Rowand and Reed Johnson. Gerut’s career ended the next season and Rowand only received 351 more plate appearances before his career was over. Only Johnson went on to play multiple seasons after his age-32 season. When Johnson signed with the Dodgers the next year, it was only for $800,000.

Hairston made $1.1 million in 2012, a number that is sure to rise after a strong walk season. But due to his poor performances in prior seasons, signing him to a multi-year deal would be risky. Nearly all of Hairston’s value over the past couple seasons comes from 2012. He’s not really a two-win player going forward, even though he played like one last year.

That makes him fairly difficult to evaluate. He’s likely to make more than $1.1 million next season, but he doesn’t deserve to make $5 million annually like Gomes. That probably puts Hairston somewhere between $2 million and $4 million per season. Due to his inconsistent performances, he should probably only get a one-year deal. Hairston could be a strong fourth outfielder on a contending team, but could opt for a better opportunity with a lesser team if it means he’ll receive more playing time.

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