2012 is not yet over, but already the MLB free agent market has run thin. The New York Yankees still have a hole to fill in the backup outfielder/DH spot and, now that the team is out of the running for Michael Bourn, rumor has it that Scott Hairston is the front-runner for the job.
Following the official announcement that the team has signed Ichiro Suzuki, the "Bombers" appear to have all of their outfield starters set with Brett Gardner in left field, Curtis Granderson in center and now Suzuki in right.
The only problem is that all three are left-handed hitters, and while that is a nice fit for the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium, it still poses an issue when the team's opponent starts a southpaw on the mound. Certainly manager Joe Girardi would prefer some depth and a right-handed complement to his lefty arsenal.
That is where Hairston comes into play. Should the team go on to land the free agent, the 32 year-old right-handed hitter provides decent power (20 home runs with the Mets last season) and a solid glove (.994 fielding percentage in the OF in 2012).
In addition to giving depth to the outfield, Hairston began his big league career as a second baseman lending Girardi another option around the diamond should the need arise.
It is no secret that the New York Yankees are an aging team, and adding Hairston would enable some of the older veterans more opportunities to take days off during the season with little drop-off in power, average (Hairston hit .263 last year) or fielding.
One added bonus is that the former Met can hit with runners in scoring position, posting a .267 average in that category—better than Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Russell Martin, Granderson and Raul Ibanez in 2012. If there is one statistic from last season that the Yankees fans know the team must improve upon, RISP is it.
Even if the team signs Ibanez back as both sides seem to desire, he only gives them more age (he's 40) and left handed hitting. The Yankees need to be able to endure a grueling run through the AL East with balance from both sides of the plate and a bench that is capable of spelling the starters who are in the twilight of their careers.
He may not have been their top choice, but now Scott Hairston appears to be the Yankees best remaining choice to fill those requirements.
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