Scott Hairston Rumors

AL East Links: Yankees, Baker, Orioles

Here's the latest from the AL East as the Red Sox move closer to acquiring Joel Hanrahan


Olney On Saunders, Hairston, Hanrahan, Howell

In today's column, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) looks at the best second-tier and third-tier free agents remaining.  Here's a look at the highlights..

  • Joe Saunders is receiving interest from four clubs and the Orioles have ramped up their efforts to retain him.  It seems Saunders would be in position to get more than the two-year, $15MM deal signed by Joe Blanton.
  • Scott Hairston is looking for a significant raise over the $1.1MM he earned last season and he might wind up being too rich for the Mets' blood.  Jonny Gomes is a similar player and got $10MM over two years from the Red Sox.
  • Some teams see the significant increase in walks allowed last season by Joel Hanrahan as a red flag.  After posting a 2.1 BB/9 rate in 2011, Hanrahan jumped to 5.4 in 2012.  There is also some concern among rival evaluators that his diminished control is a sign of an arm issue.  Hanrahan would argue that the control problems may have stemmed from the inconsistent save chances that a Bucs closer gets.
  • Free agent reliever J.P. Howell should sign soon, perhaps with the Nationals.  Other interested clubs include the Phillies, Cubs, Mariners, and Rangers.
  • Travis Hafner would be a classic make-good guy to bring to spring training, but he won't fit all rosters because he can't play a position.
  • Executives have reservations about Lance Berkman, including his health, overall shape, and motivation to play.
  • Some have said that the Cubs overpaid for Edwin Jackson ($52MM over four years), but new financial restraints in the draft and international market have forced clubs to pay more.  In short, the Cubs basically paid the going rate for a 29-year-old healthy pitcher of his caliber.

Braves Interested In Scott Hairston

The Braves are among the teams interested in free agent outfielder Scott Hairston, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter). Hairston could address the Braves’ need for a left fielder, but he might be too expensive for Atlanta.

Hairston hit 20 homers and posted a .263/.299/.504 batting line for the Mets this past season. The 32-year-old played all three outfield positions, spending most of his time in the two corner spots. He faced left-handed pitching in precisely half of his 398 plate appearances and, as usual, he excelled against lefties with a .286/.317/.550 batting line and 11 home runs. 

The Braves appear to prefer right-handed hitters such as Hairston given their lefty-heavy lineup. However, he wouldn’t be a natural complement to Braves outfielder Reed Johnson, another right-handed hitter who hits lefties better than he hits righties.

Hairston, an Excel Sports Management client, earned $1.1MM in each of the past two seasons. He could be looking for a two-year deal in the $10MM range following Jonny Gomesdeal with the Red Sox. The Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Tigers and Indians have all been linked to him at various points this offseason.



Mets Interested In Young, Marcum, Capuano, Harang

The Mets are exploring trades and contacting free agents as they look to add depth to a rotation that no longer includes R.A. Dickey, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. The Mets have reached out to many free agent starters, including Chris Young and Shaun Marcum. Davidoff reported yesterday that the Mets are also interested in free agents Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano.

The Mets have interest in Dodgers starters Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, Davidoff reports (Twitter link). The Dodgers figure to trade at least one starting pitcher after signing Zack Greinke, so Capuano or Harang could be dealt. The Mets have engaged the Dodgers in trade talks about their starting pitching depth, according to the Post.

GM Sandy Alderson continues searching for a right-handed hitting outfielder, Davidoff writes. The Mets would prefer to add an outfielder capable of playing right field so they can move Lucas Duda to left. Scott Hairston and Cody Ross are potential targets for the Mets. However signing those players could be challenging, since the Mets have approximately $10MM to spend.


New York Notes: Mets, Ibanez, Hairston

As the Yankees take aim at a third consecutive AL East title, the Mets are working toward their first division title since 2006. Here's the latest on New York's two MLB teams…

  • While Sandy Alderson and the Mets appears to have done well to obtain top prospects Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard for R.A. Dickey, the GM will ultimately be assessed by how those players fare at the MLB level, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Sherman shows that the prospects traded for Cy Young winners haven’t done particularly well in the Major Leagues in recent years.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he’s open to talking to free agents or discussing trades with other clubs, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. The GM confirmed that he continues talking to Raul Ibanez and his agent, but declined to discuss his interest in free agent outfielder Scott Hairston. Ibanez could become the Yankees’ DH and Hairston could balance out the team’s lefty-heavy outfield.

Yankees Links: Bourn, Hairston, Youkilis, Granderson

It was on this day in 1956 that Phil Rizzuto traded his glove for a microphone as the longtime Yankee shortstop agreed to become a radio and TV broadcaster.  Rizzuto called Yankees games for the next 39 years, becoming arguably even more famous as an announcer than he was for his Hall-of-Fame playing career.

Here's the latest from the Bronx…

  • There is "no chance" the Yankees will pursue Michael Bourn, a source tells ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews.  We heard over the weekend from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the Yankees would be interested in Bourn if his price dropped, though it's hard to imagine Bourn's price dropping enough to suit a team who is trying to keep payroll under the luxury tax threshold for 2014.
  • Scott Hairston is apparently "the front-runner" amongst the right-handed hitting outfielders the Yankees are targeting, Matthews reports, though Hairston would prefer to return to the Mets in 2013.
  • In a radio interview on WAAF's Hill-Man Morning Show, Kevin Youkilis said that his ideal choice would've been to play on the west coast near his Bay Area home, but his suitors were all eastern and midwest teams.  Youkilis said his choice hinged on the Yankees having the best chance to win a World Series, not out of spite towards the Red Sox.  (Hat tip to WEEI.com's Alex Speier for the partial transcript of Youkilis' interview.)
  • Curtis Granderson's trade value is examined by Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog, who concludes that the Yankees will have a difficult time finding a trade partner who both needs and can afford Granderson, while also being able to send a good return back to the Bronx.
  • The Yankees will pay an extra $400K after Major League Baseball recalculated the team's luxury tax payments for 2012, according to The Associated Press.  New York will now pay just under $19.312MM in luxury tax for the previous season.

Yankees, Angels Discussed Vernon Wells

The Angels have a few too many outfielders after signing Josh Hamilton, though they prefer to trade Kendrys Morales or Vernon Wells rather than Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Yankees discussed Wells with Anaheim at the Winter Meetings.

Wells, 34, has hit .222/.258/.409 in 791 plate appearances with the Angels over the last two seasons. He's owed $21MM in each of the next two seasons, and the Halos know they'll have to eat most of that to facilitate a trade. The Yankees are seeking a right-handed bat to complement their all-lefty outfield, though they still have interest in free agent Scott Hairston. Wells has hit .266/.312/.481 against southpaws these last two years.

Rosenthal says the Phillies and Rays are also possible fits for Wells, though the former is ramping up their pursuit of Cody Ross. Wells has a full no-trade clause but would likely waive it for a team offering more playing time.


Giants Notes: Wilson, Swisher, Outfielders

Here's the latest on the World Series champions, courtesy of The San Francisco Chronicle's Hank Schulman…

  • The Giants aren't close (Twitter link) to a deal to bring back former closer Brian Wilson.  The club assumes that Wilson will only consider a return once he's closely looked at his other choices.  Schulman reported earlier this month that Wilson had some hard feelings towards the Giants for non-tendering him and was looking to pitch elsewhere, preferably for the Red Sox or one of the Los Angeles teams.
  • Nick Swisher doesn't appear to be a target (Twitter link) for the Giants.
  • Cody Ross, Scott Hairston and Reed Johnson were all considered by the Giants as right-handed hitting outfield options, but the three players "either were not willing to take a part-timer's salary or not what the Giants wanted defensively."  San Francisco instead reached agreement with Andres Torres to a one-year, $2MM contract earlier today.
  • Giants president Larry Baer said his club feels no pressure to make any big moves to counter the Dodgers.  "Our strategy is just different, developing guys and bringing them through the system and sprinkling in free agents and trades when it makes sense," Baer said. "We've done free agents before, but we're trying to do more of a homegrown thing…You can't let what any other team does alter your strategy. That would be a mistake.  If we're going to look at the Dodgers spending all this money and say we're going to be free-agent-centric, we don't think that would be smart."
  • In news from earlier today, the Giants are believed to have offered Ichiro Suzuki a two-year, $15MM contract, but Ichiro is on his way to taking a slightly smaller contract to re-sign with the Yankees.

Mets Remain In The Mix For Scott Hairston

Scott Hairston is one of the few right-handed power outfield bats left on the free agent market, and he told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that the Mets remain in the mix to re-sign him. It will take a multiyear contract, however.

"Things are starting to pick up now that the market is settling in," said Hairston. "Still unsure where I'll sign, though. There are a lot of trades happening around the league, so it's possible that interest may rise in the next few days. My agent has been in contact with [Mets GM Sandy Alderson], so he is aware I want a multiyear deal."

Rubin says the Yankees, Phillies, Giants, and Cardinals also have interest in Hairston. The 32-year-old hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 homers in 398 plate appearances for the Mets this season, including a .286/.317/.550 line in 199 plate appearances against left-handers. Jonny Gomes signed a two-year, $10MM contract with the Red Sox last month, setting the market for righty outfield mashers.


Afternoon Rumors: Hairston, Royals, Yanks, M’s

Jeff Keppinger, Eric Chavez, Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, and Wil Nieves have all reached contract agreements this afternon in Nashville. Which moves might be coming next? Let's round up a few of the latest rumors from the Winter Meetings….

  • The Mets are reluctant to commit to a two-year deal for Scott Hairston, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal adds that the Mets could net a catcher in a trade involving R.A. Dickey or other players. Given the context, I assume he means an outfielder, though the Mets are seeking a backstop as well.
  • Like the Brewers, the Royals may not be able to afford an arm like Anibal Sanchez or Kyle Lohse unless the team clears some salary, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Kansas City has remained in touch with both pitchers though.
  • The Yankees have been exchanging trade proposals with other teams for a variety of players, including Curtis Granderson, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney, who cautions that that's "standard procedure."
  • Seattle's payroll is expected to rise above $90MM, so the Mariners could afford to add one big-money player, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Josh Hamilton would be a tight fit though, Heyman adds.
  • Although the Angels are interested in Brandon McCarthy, they've yet to speak to his people in Nashville, says ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter).