Addressing the Yankees' areas of weakness: The Bench

Aside from the bullpen, the most frequently maligned aspect of nearly every Yankee team of the aughts was the bench. The excuse was often that the Yankees couldn’t get quality bench players because said players might have a chance to be starters on other teams, but that’s pure folly — not that you should overpay for your bench, but it shouldn’t that difficult to staff a bench that won’t out-and-out kill you every time one of its members steps to the plate.

Brian Cashman finally seemed to get the bench right last year, and though the team’s substitutes didn’t see all that much playing time in the 2009 postseason, I’m not so sure it was mere coincidence that the Yankees were finally able to break their World Series drought with the deepest 1-25 they’d had in some time. The two primary components of that bench — Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston — weren’t acquired until midseason, but both provided decent bats, as Hinske wOBAed .350 and Hairston .325 in limited duty.… Click here to read the rest

Two Hairstons and a college punter

Are we there yet?

In absurdly inconsequential but slightly amusing news, Scott Hairston and the Padres agreed on a one-year $2.45 million deal through salary arbitration, which means Scott will bring home nearly $500k more in 2010 than older brother Jerry, who spurned the Yankees for the opportunity to play with Scott in San Diego.

While neither Hairston will ever be mistaken for world-beaters, Jerry’s always seemed like a slightly better player than his fringy brother (although the numbers don’t back this up: Scott’s a career .326 wOBA player and Jerry’s .313), and the salary discrepancy should make for some fun family BBQs this summer.

In hilarious news, onetime college football punter and grittiest, guttiest, dirtiest-mofo-to-ever-don-a-baseball-uniform badass extraordinaire Darin Erstad is reportedly interested in playing again in 2010, only he claims “there are no at bats to be had.” This is shocking, especially coming from a man who eats clumps of dirt and washes it down with a glass of freshly mowed grass for breakfast.… Click here to read the rest

Hairston’s Damon claim


Last night, via the Home Plate channel’s Jim Bowden who spoke with Jerry Hairston Jr., we were told that the Yankees had not offered J-Hair a contract because they are waiting for Johnny Damon’s price to drop. However, the information was reported through Twitter and was influenced by a tweet’s character limitations (140 or less), preventing us from reading what Hairston actually said. Here’s a transcript to clarify (props to Andrew Fitzpatrick for emailing this to me):

Host/Jim Bowden: “I have to ask you this, and it’s a two part question: Did the Yankees make you an offer and the second part, did you sign with San Diego after [your brother] Scott was traded and was that part of the reason?”

Jerry Hairston Jr.: “You know what, to answer your first question, the Yankees didn’t officially make an offer. We’d been talking with them for about a month or two months and, um, they were kinda, I guess, waiting for a certain left fielder’s price to come down.

Click here to read the rest

Olney: Yanks Made No Offer To Hairston

From Buster Olney:

Two things: No. 1, the NYY never made an offer to Jerry Hairston, and No. 2, there has been no recent contact between NYY and Johnny Damon.

The tidbit about Damon is to be expected, in that I doubt that the Yankees would be negotiating with Damon even if they actually wanted him back. They would be more likely to let Damon sit and fret upon the open market until he crawls back to them at a significantly reduced rate. Regarding Hairston, the Yankees lack of interest in him makes perfect sense. With players such as Ramiro Pena, Eduardo Nunez, and Kevin Russo in the system, the Yankees are equipped to handle their utility role internally, at the league minimum. While Hairston is likely to be better than any of those players in 2010, the difference is minimal, such that saving funds for other areas or for an in-season move makes plenty of sense.… Click here to read the rest

The Brothers Hairston

Scott and Jerry Hairston

BIG, FAT, GIANT EDIT: SCOTT HAIRSTON IS NOT A FREE AGENT

Since the World Series ended, we’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink on the left field situation. Well, I’m going to throw out more left field scenarios, with one of them spilling into the utility player’s spot as well. For today’s venture, we’ll be looking at the Hairston brother.

As we’ve heard recently, and as Steve reported this morning, the Yankees are interested in bringing Jerry Hairston, Jr. back. In general, this seems like a pretty good move. Hairston offers extreme positional flexibility, as he can play all three OF spots well (career UZR/150 of 20.6 in 323 OF games) and he can also play each position on the infield without being a total embarrassment out there.

Jerry also offers an upgrade over probable utility candidates Ramiro Pena and Kevin Russo. Not only is he a more experienced player than those two, but he can also play the outfield. Pena and Russo would both be awfully green heading into 2010, so it’d be nice to get at least one of them some more seasoning in the minors.… Click here to read the rest

Hairston A Great Addition

From the NY Times:

Jerry Hairston Jr. started in center field for the Yankees, switched to right field in the eighth inning and finished the game at shortstop. Hairston doubled in the first two runs of the game, and continued to be as versatile as any Yankee.

When Nick Swisher was asked where Hairston’s versatility ranked among other players, he said: “On a scale from 1 to 100, I’m thinking 100. It seems like the guy can do everything.”

Since the Yankees acquired Hairston from the Cincinnati Reds on July 31, he has batted .382 with two homers, nine runs batted in and six walks in the 11 games that he has started. Manager Joe Girardi said he would not hesitate to use Hairston at any infield or outfield position, and also called him an emergency catcher.

“It’s a real luxury,” Girardi said. “You feel that you can almost put him in seven different spots. There’s not a lot of guys that can do that.”

The addition of Hairston was a masterstroke by Brian Cashman, bringing in a veteran hitter who can field every position on the diamond other than catcher.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks get Jerry Hairston Jr.

Joel Sherman has the news. Hairston, 33, was acquired from the Reds, where he hit .254/.305/.397. He can play the OF—all three positions—and some IF (3B, 2B, SS). Hairston isn’t as fast as Gardner (not even close), but he offers some speed and is a good OF defender while his defense in the IF is passable (I’m not sure about third, though). Solid bench move for the Yankees. I wonder if this ends Cody Ransom’s tenure with the club?

UPDATE – Jonathan Mayo is reporting that the Yankees might have sent Austin Jackson to the Reds in this deal though that hasn’t been confirmed. I refuse to believe that Brian Cashman would make such a move.

UPDATE – Mayo is now saying that the Jackson info is inaccurate. Whew…

UPDATE – The Yankees traded Chase Weems for Hairston.… Click here to read the rest