Thoughts on Jerry Hairston

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Giants are one of three teams to have interest in Jerry Hairston. The utility man started the 2011 season with the Nationals before being traded to Milwaukee, where he took over third base duties for Casey McGehee. Hairston’s most valuable asset is his versatility, as UZR sees him as an above-average defender in the middle infield or the outfield. Although he was essentially a league average hitter in 2011, he is the owner of a career .258/.326/.371 slash line, which is why most teams have used him in a super utility role.

In a best-case scenario, Hairston represents a decent upgrade at shortstop in 2012. Bill James sees him putting up a .254/.323/.369 line next year, which is certainly better than the .232/.297/.340 line he sees for Brandon Crawford. Unfortunately for the Giants, Hairston has demonstrated reverse splits over his career, so it’s hard to envision him in a platoon role. If the front office is truly intent on pursuing him, it is because they see him as a viable starter. Hairston isn’t an ideal candidate, but sadly, he’s one of the better options remaining. In the past two years, he’s put up 3 WAR in 239 games, so it’s reasonable to project him for a respectable 2 WAR over a full season.

As Rosenthal notes, the demand for middle infielders has been remarkably high this offseason. Even marginal players such as John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist have signed two-year contracts, making it extremely hard to justify not giving Hairston a similar deal. The “financially constrained” Giants will have to evaluate if it is worth paying a veteran millions of dollars to be a slight improvement over a player making close to league minimum. In terms of players who have already signed, Hairston probably fits somewhere between the aforementioned Bloomquist, who signed for 2 years, $3.8MM, and Jamey Carroll, who signed for 2 years, $6.75MM.

If it wasn’t already clear, I’m in favor of the Giants signing Hairston for something around 2 years, $5MM. Aside from Reyes, Rollins, and Furcal, there just aren’t that many quality shortstop options out there.  I love Crawford’s glove, but the Giants have no Plan B if his bat wilts, and the last time that happened, Brian Sabean traded for Orlando Cabrera. Even though the last two-year deal to a utility guy (Mark DeRosa) didn’t work out so well, the good thing about Hairston is that his presence won’t prevent the Giants from going after a legitimate shortstop.

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8 thoughts on “Thoughts on Jerry Hairston

  1. Here we go again !!!! another oldie at short….why not just re-aquire Uribe from L.A. ???? or Good Grief Charlie is that Miguel Tejada on the free agent list ?

  2. another perfect RH platoon partner for Crawford. Will they sign this one or wait for Pittsburgh’s Cedeno ? The Versatility is awesome. Much like Bloomquist. If he’d only come as cheap as Bloomquist.

  3. Perhaps SF should trade for Baltimore SS Hardy, who has a 3 yr contract at 7M/yr and is a solid .270/30HR/100 RBI guy. Orioles are rebuilding and looking to unload salary, their best prospect is a shortstop. Giants have three highly rated C prospect they don’t need, could trade Tommy Joseph, Conor Gillespie and another prospect for Hardy. Giants can’t afford any more $10M+ contracts until Zito’s is done after 2013.

    That would give SF 2012 lineup of: CF Cabrera, 2B Sanchez, 3B Sandoval, C Posey, SS Hardy, 1B Huff/Pill, LF Belt, RF Schierholz. Reserves could be Keppinger/Fontenot, Crawford, Torres, Sanchez/Stewart. Schierholz has the speed to work as a #8 hitter. They need to find out in 2012 if Belt, Schierholz, Pill, and Crawford are worthy of being starters or bench players.

    For 2013 SF is hoping to see this lineup: CF Brown, 2B Hardy/Panik, 3B Sandoval, C Posey, SS Crawford/Hardy, LF Cabrera, 1B Belt/Pill, RF Schierholz. Giants are hoping OF prospects Peguero, Kieschnik, or 1B Villona (pushing Belt to LF) might be ready to obviate need to resign Cabrera or some other expensive FA outfielder. If Crawford can hit Hardy can move to 2B. In their park they would do well to develop line drive hitters w/speed, and take advantage of triples rather than homers.

    If SF is keeping Lincecum and Cain long term (already at $15M/yr each), they need younger, cheaper players at other positions. Closer Wilson is probably gone after next year, replaced by Heath Hembree. Any discussion of who SF is going after starts with economic realities. What do you think?

    • Hardy is attractive, especially due to that contract, but consider this: His numbers last year will not happen playing 81 games in the confines of AT&T Park. He’s hit 20+ HR twice along with the 30 last year, coupled with that .268 average. Expect that his average would remain similar, but his power would drop somewhat.

      Taking that into consideration, one needs to ask that horrible question that seems to loom every year: “Do we let the kids play and develop?” Face it, AAA ball does not a Major Leaguer make. Granted, Crawford was thrown into the mix from AA and did not have that adjustment period needed. I think, however, that it’s his turn to play it out. If Crawford’s average was in the .255-.260 range, none of these discussions would have ever taken place. He is the future at SS for the Giants, and I feel that his time to show it is now, and he deserves the chance.

      Fontenot is our current super utility, and I’m fine with that. Keppenger will not return due to what he’ll be expected to make in Arbitration. I’m not counting on Beltran in the least this offseason. I’ll be shocked if he re-ups. I agree on the ‘cheaper players’ comment; money’s got to come from somewhere for the starting pitchers, and they wholeheartedly deserve such.

      So this means, to me at least, that besides a slim chance of Beltran returning, the Giants are not looking…….again…….to FA to solve the issues at hand. In one way, that’s scary, but looking at things optimistically is more the way to go. Consider: Posey is back to himself next year, performs admirably, hits in the .290 range. Sanchez sits right on his career line. Pablo, even if he matches his line from 2011 is great. Scheirholtz kicks the nagging injuries and hits .270. Again, just for the sake of argument, let’s say Crawford can bring up the average to .250 and hit in the 8th slot. Hopefully Cabrera does something similar to his numbers last year. Belt gains his consistency and continues to take walks. And, if at all possible, Huff rebounds and has worked hard in the offseason to do so, and hits at a decent clip. There’s no way this lineup cannot win games, and score a few more runs in the process.

      Remember last season, and what was missing for so long: Posey gone for most of the season, Sanchez setting things up in the 2 hole gone, Pablo hurt for more than a month, Scheirholtz finally breaking through and then getting hurt, Huff never showing up, Torrez declining, etc. We had a really bad run with the injuries, and hopefully the majority of that vice is behind us.

  4. Pauly says it all in his comments [almost]fact is…AT&T park was built for Barry Bonds and his wonderous power and it seems that all ownership wants to talk about is home run power. AT&T is a pitchers park for the likes of Cain, Bum and Timmy and these fine young men we have and seem the owners want to keep, so why not look for those line drive gap hitter types ??? Beltran gave a fantastic gap hitting show for the Giants during his brief stay [which I feel he should go elsewhere
    unless his demands are lowered]The gap line drive hitters are the way to go at AT&T not the swing for the fence types we have in Ross, Huff,and YES Pauly, your man Fontenot who thinks he is Babe Ruth. He does not belong on the Giants roster [a Ruthian swing and a "nubber" to short, time and time again]There is a reason that nobody wants to play for the Giants, these are all your power hitters, and I can not say I blame them one bit….Leave our Big Boys hit the home runs on the road for us and go for the doubles and triples at home. Here is the reason we left so many on base in front of our POWER last season. With the likes of Posey and Freddy back we should be able to do it again. “HIT THOSE GAPS”

  5. In my mind I get the picture of Posey “SMASHING” the be-jesus out of the ball up the middle for a single with the bases loaded or Freddy “SLAPPING” the ball in the same way as Posey up the middle….Fond memories come back of Will Clark and that “smirk” ………….

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