Mets Diamond Notes: Possible Scott Hairston Extension, Kirk Nieuwenhuis Expected Back in September

By Matt Musico

Sandy Alderson has shown that he’s more than willing to negotiate contracts with players in-season; he tried to negotiate an extension for David Wright earlier this year, but the third baseman was having none of it. Last season at this time, the Mets agreed to a one-year deal with overused reliever, Tim Byrdak. MLB Trade Rumors reported that New York has not yet approached outfielder Scott Hairston about a possible contract extension yet, but he’s open to the idea.

With Adam Rubin reporting from a source that Hairston has yet to be put on waivers after the July 31st trade deadline, I think it’s highly unlikely that the Mets will try to deal him in the immediate future. It was around this time last year that Alderson completed the one-year deal for Byrdak, so it could be getting close to the time where they approach Hairston for the same thing, especially knowing now that he’s willing to talk during the season. Extending Hairston would be a great idea, with an eye to doing so before free agency kicks in and another team ups his value out of Alderson’s price range. However, in 2013, he needs to be the fourth outfielder, not one of the main contributors in the outfield. With the pop in his bat, he can be much more lethal in a late-game pinch hitting opportunity.

On to another outfielder; Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been on the disabled list down in Triple-A since August 3rd, when he tore his plantar fascia. The rookie outfielder is now participating in baseball activities in Port St. Lucie, and as long as his injury is a non-issue and/or the pain is manageable, we will be seeing Captain Kirk back up with the Mets once rosters expand next month. After hitting .268/.329/.402 in 78 games in the first half, Nieuwenhuis only hit .107/.194/.143 in 13 second-half games before getting demoted. In his defense, once he hit that slump, he fell out of favor quickly with Terry Collins, and started grabbing some pine almost nightly.

In talking about recent acquisitions, the Mets voided the minor league deal they agreed to with Scott Patterson after finding out he suffered a shoulder injury during his short stay with the Buffalo Bisons. This is disappointing because although Patterson spent the majority of his professional career playing independent ball, he’s succeeded wherever he’s gone, most recently in Seattle’s organization. As for Kelly Shoppach, Alderson decided to make the trade now to see if the backup catcher would fit in with the rest of the team, and he’s doing a pretty good job, scoring two runs Thursday against Cincinnati and hitting his first homer as a Met last night against the Nationals. What about trading away Pedro Beato? According to Rubin, the reliever fell out of favor with the organization, making him expendable. I could see that coming, as he had some comments when he wasn’t immediately activated and moved to the Big League team after coming off the disabled list, and then making less than stellar comments about Josh Thole behind the plate. See ya later, dude.

Citi Field will be one of two sites where Major League Baseball will be testing two new instant replay systems when judging fair and foul balls, to see which one will best serve the needs for the umpires. No decisions will be made with the systems in Flushing or at Yankee Stadium (the other site of the testing), but the process will be monitored throughout the rest of the year and during the Arizona Fall League, with the results being revealed in November at the owner’s meetings.