Scott Hairston: Movin' on Up (the Coast)

Jeremiah Graves@cheapseatchronAnalyst IJuly 6, 2009

PHOENIX - MAY 25:  Scott Hairston #12 of the San Diego Padres bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on May 25, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Padres defeated the Diamondbacks 9-7.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In an attempt to add some power to an otherwise lackluster lineup, the Oakland Athletics traded two Minor Leaguers to acquire Scott Hairston from the San Diego Padres today.

Hairston was hitting .299 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in 55 games. Those numbers make him an immediate upgrade to an Athletics lineup that has lacked a real power source this season despite bringing in sluggers Jason Giambi and Matt Holliday in the offseason.

In the trade, the Padres receive a pair of Minor League pitchers and a player to be named later. The two pitchers, Ryan Webb and Craig Italiano, figure to provide some future insurance for the Padres rotation if the team succeeds in trading Jake Peavy.

Italiano, the A’s second-round pick in 2005, was 5-6 with a 5.63 ERA for Class A Stockton, and the 6'6" Webb, a fourth-round pick in 2007, was 7-1 with a 4.34 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 45.2 innings for Triple-A Sacramento.

It is unclear why the Padres would want to trade one of their more productive hitters when the team is in dire need of protection for slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

The deal makes much more sense for the Athletics who can slot Hairston in to play center field or right field and consider it an immediate upgrade. It also gives the Athletics a potential replacement both in the lineup and in the field when Matt Holliday is traded and/or walks as a free agent at the end of the season.

It is also possible that Athletics general manager Billy Beane could be looking to deal Hairston to one of the many teams looking to add a right-handed power bat to come off the bench down the stretch.

The Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Twins, and Cardinals are all teams that have been rumored to be on the lookout for a player like Hairston and could be in the mix if he is on the market again.

It is also possible that Beane will look to package Hairston with an underachieving veteran acquisition like Giambi or Orlando Cabrera in a trade to shed salary and further restock the farm system.

Whether he is trade bait or expected to become a key cog in the Athletics future, Scott Hairston figures to play an important role down the stretch.

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