The Cubs have come to an agreement with outfielder Scott Hairston on a two year deal that could be worth up to six million dollars. The signing was originally reported by Ken Rosenthal and has since been confirmed by Bruce Levine.
2013 will be Hairston's 33 year old season. His career has consisted of mostly part-time work, first with Diamondbacks, followed by the Padres, then the A's, and most recently the Mets. He came up in 2004 as a second basemen, but has since spent most of his time in a corner outfield role.
There could be some upside to this deal. Hairston can hit lefties (119 career OPS+), has some power (95 career homers in 2200 PA), and doesn't seem to be terrible on defense. He has spent most of his career in pitchers' parks and could conceivably get a boost by moving to Wrigley. Also, he is the brother of former Cub Jerry Hairston Jr. Due to the fickle randomness inherent in birthing orders, Scott has not the honor of carrying on his father's name, and has spent his life seeking to find favor with the patriarch through the development of a swing capable of producing power unmatched by his older sibling. (I assume).
On the other hand, Hairston's career high in plate appearances is 464. His career OBP is .302. His desirability as a free agent is largely based on his surprising 2012, when hit 20 homers in 398 PA, and breakout years from old players are not to be trusted.
On the whole the signing falls under the category of "Is This It?", as has been typical of moves during the Epstein/Hoyer regime. The club has collected mediocre players on short term deals for low prices while they try to figure out what to do in the long term. I don't think it's an accident that this move comes on the heels of Buster Olney reporting that the Diamondbacks are weighing an offer to send Justin Upton to the Braves. The front office isn't willing to match that asking price at this stage of the game, so we will have to deal with platoon types like David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, and Hairston for the time being. If you squint hard, you can see a 2013 roster that could finish .500 if all the breaks fall their way, but will probably be closer to 70 wins than 80.
Hey, at least he is better than Dave Sappelt.