With Cody Ross‘s departure looking more likely by the day, the Red Sox really need to look into more corner outfield options for 2013 and beyond. Unless the front office plans on having Daniel Nava (.243/.352/.390) and Ryan Kalish (.229/.272/.269) starting at premium offensive positions, they’ll need to plug a few holes. One player on the market looks like an excellent stopgap option, as he hits for power from the right side and may very well be a reincarnation of the man he’s replacing. That player is Scott Hairston.
After a number of subpar seasons to start his career, the 32 year old Hairston really put it all together in 2012. In just 377 at bats, he hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 home runs and 25 doubles in Citi Field, a notorious pitcher’s park. Although he had never really been a starting player in his career, the power has always been there for Hairston (.202 career isolated power) despite playing pitcher’s parks for much of his career. His acquisition would prevent a potential power outage in a Red Sox lineup featuring very few power bats.
Hairston would fit well into the Red Sox lineup because of his skill at mashing left-handers. He could nicely complement the big left-handed bats in the Red Sox lineup like Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (although he is a switch-hitter, he is neutralized by lefties). Hairston posted a .286/.317/.550 slash line against lefties in 2012, and those numbers would only grow in Fenway Park.
Defensively, Hairston is not fantastic at any outfield position. However, he is decent in left field, where he posted a 5.7 UZR/150 in 2012. With the Green Monster behind him to cover up his lack of speed, Hairston probably would be solid enough to hold down a starting spot, especially given his competition (or lack thereof).
Hairston is not a great player, but he is a very solid stopgap option. The Red Sox probably won’t contend in 2013 anyway, but Hairston could be a bright spot as fans wait for the arrival of Bryce Brentz and Jackie Bradley. As a right-handed power bat, there’s a good chance that he could push the 20 or 25 home run mark again in 2013. He would come cheap, maybe for a 1 year/$5 million deal and he’d probably be worth it. If nothing else, they could flip him for prospects at the trading deadline.