It may not be the outfield signing that many may have been hoping for, but the Chicago Cubs may have completed their Opening Day outfield in agreeing to a two-year pact with Scott Hairston.
Just a couple of weeks ago, it seemed like Hairston was destined for New York, with a deal with either the Yankees or Mets probably on the horizon. Those potential deals fell apart, and it sounds like Hairston may have turned down more money from the Mets to join the Cubs in Chicago.
With performance bonuses, Hairston could earn up to $6 million in his two-year contract. The Mets were reported to have offered him $8 million. Regardless of what he may or may not have turned down, the Cubs may have gotten a steal in signing Hairston.
Hairston is not Michael Bourn, who many were hoping would fall right into the Cubs' lap. But he brings plenty of value to this team. He's obviously versatile. He can play all three outfield positions. We'll likely see him plenty out in right field, as well as spelling Alfonso Soriano in left.
What Hairston will really bring to this lineup is his ability to mash left-handed pitching. He's not going to get on base a ton (just .299 last year), but he posted an .867 OPS against lefties last year. He'll add some power to the mix as a right handed bat, which the Cubs were searching hard for.
As of right now, a platoon situation in right field with Nate Schierholtz is the most likely destination for Hairston, with Soriano in left and David DeJesus in center. And then Dave Sappelt will figure into the mix somewhere as well. Assuming somebody (Soriano/DeJesus) isn't traded before Opening Day.
This isn't a flashy signing by any means by the Cubs, but it's an intriguing one. It gives them options as far as the lineup is concerned, with that platoon, as well as the flexibility to make a trade when that time comes. Heck, on that contract, Hairston might fetch some trade value himself before long.