The 2011 baseball season has only crept into month two, but the New York Mets have made an uncharacteristic amount of moves in such a short period of time. The Mets have already parted ways with Blaine Boyer, Brad Emaus, demoted veteran and off-season signee D.J. Carrasco, and recently outrighted the struggling Chin-lung Hu and Ryota Igarashi. If Sandy Alderson has made one thing clear about his regime, it’s: “If you don’t play well, then you’re off the team.” Given his credo, then one has to wonder–why is Scott Hairston still on the Mets?
Hairston has always been one of those “what if” types of players. Specifically to Hairston’s case, the “what if” has been his health. Despite raking in the minors (.321/.402/.569 career line), the outfielder’s complete inability to stay heathy prevented his growth as a Major League hitter. In the bigs, the former top prospect owns a pedestrian .244/.302/.431 line, yet he has remained a general manager favorite since his debut in 2004.
Given that the Mets have used “fourth” outfielders like Jesus Feliciano, Gary Matthews Jr., Jeremy Reed, Cory Sullivan, and Emil Brown over the past few seasons, signing a guy like Hairston who at least had a high-ceiling, did make sense. In comparison, Hairston–to his credit–has posted six seasons with double-digit home-runs, with well above-average center-field (career 9.0 UZR/150) and left-field (career 6.9 UZR/150).
Despite his relatively solid accolades, the outfielder has only sported a .200/.294/.289 line with just two extra-base hits in 51 plate appearances in 2011. His production (or lack there of) should–at least according to Alderson’s approach–seal his fate as a New York Met.
In addition, continuing to hand Scott Hairston playing time–especially with Fernando Martinez on the active roster–makes his status that much more questionable. While Alderson would look like a genius if Hairston somehow played to his once highly-acclaimed potential, the growth of Martinez should be much more of a priority for the Mets.