Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hairston excited to join "winning team"

USA Today Sports Images
PHILADELPHIA — Scott Hairston signed a two-year contract with the Cubs in February, wanting to spend the entire time in Chicago but always aware of the possibility of a trade sometime before it expired. And when that trade happened late Sunday night, when he found out he'd been dealt to the Nationals, the veteran outfielder had one immediate reaction.

"Winning team," he thought.

Nearly 24 hours later, Hairston was in the Nationals clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, having just watched his new team lose 3-2 to the Phillies but no less excited to be a part of a Washington club gearing up for a pennant race.

"I know this is going to be good for me, to be in this environment," he said. "I haven't been in a winning environment in quite a while, so it feels good."

Hairston has played for only two winning teams in his 10 big-league seasons: the 2007 and 2010 Padres. He has never reached the postseason.

The Nationals hope the 33-year-old can help be one piece to a puzzle that propels them back into the playoffs for the second straight October, believing he'll provide a more productive, right-handed bat off the bench than the inexperienced Tyler Moore (who was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse yesterday) did.

"We need a veteran presence on the bench, not some youngster," manager Davey Johnson said. "He knows the pitchers. and he knows what he needs to do to hit."

Once a highly touted, power-hitting prospect with the Diamondbacks — he was originally drafted by Mike Rizzo, then Arizona's scouting director, in 2001 — Hairston has learned over the years how to succeed coming off the bench.

It's a role Hairston has grown to embrace.

"I'm very comfortable with that," he said. "I've been used to that the last few years. Coming over here, I expected the same thing."

Hairston also is excited to return to the NL East, where he spent the last two seasons with the Mets. He particularly has a strong track record against the Phillies, sporting a .985 OPS in 84 career plate appearances against pitchers currently on Philadelphia's staff.

He could get a chance to face one of them, Cole Hamels, tonight. Hairston's career numbers against Hamels: 12-for-30, five doubles, five homers.

"When you see pitchers that you've seen before and the way that they've pitched you, it makes things a little easier mentally," Hairston said. "Going to a different division, sometimes you're hard on yourself and try to do too much against pitchers you haven't seen. But I played in these ballparks. I've faced these pitchers. They're tough, but it's still nice to face pitchers you're familiar with."

85 comments:

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Great baseball family. But he needs a nickname.

Section 222 said...

Welcome Scott. May you fulfill all the expectations we have for you, as expressed yesterday on this board.

Hey, anyone see the replay of Carlos Gomez's great catch of a Joey Votto bomb to end the MIL-CIN game yesterday? The split screen on MLB Network showed Votto pointing and arguing about something after the catch. Anyone hear what that was about?

natsfan1a said...

Just came across this. No nickname found, but a fun little item, imho.

baseballswami said...

NLEast-- the Mets will end the season at this point having played about ten more games than us with their marathons. Here is what I don't get-- Matt Harvey is the new savior of their franchise-- everyone wants him to start the ASG-- he threw 125 pitches last night, one week from aforementioned game!!! AND -- I am hearing they might move him up to a Saturday start. Do they value this young pitcher at all? With their marathon games, innings are mounting up. So we play them at all during that last month of the season? I hope so. Rest of the division? Marlins not as bad as we thought, Braves not as good, Mets- insane, Phils-- multiple personality. We really need to get in front of this thing sooner rather than later.

Doc said...

Scott hits lefties, Den doesn't.

Next two games, at least, Harps in CF and Hairston in LF.

Time to put some of your stats data to use Davey.

mick said...

will Hariston have the same impact that Suzuki had in 2012...my bet is that he will

mick said...

Nats have 11 in a row at home after the break...if they can split with Phils and win 2 in Miami, even a split with the fish...they could be in a very good spot

mick said...

and...central division teams will play each other a lot after the break and beat each other up

alexva said...

222, Votto was questioning whether the ball was actually in his glove

mick said...

on another note...I hear Matt Kemp is done for 8 weeks....do Dodgers unload some guys at the end of July if they fall 10 back, and do Nats go after anyone?

A DC Wonk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Section 222 said...

Thanks alexva. mick, don't forget that 7 of those 10 home games after the ASG are against the Dodgers (thankfully missing Kemp, but with a red-hot Hanley), and the Pirates. Not quite like facing the Brewers and Padres. I had really hoped we could go 5-2 on this roadtrip, but after losing to Lannan last night, that seems like a very difficult goal to reach.

Anna Peregrina said...

The article linked by natsfan says that ONE Hairston brother has the nickname "Hairball," but really, let's not go there. "Sabaki" is a cool name (he is involved with "Sabakiball," says the article). Hairston is also a name exceptionally amenable to anagramming. So we could call him "On A Shirt" Hairston, "Iron Hats" Hairston, "Hit, So Ran" Hairston, etc.

A DC Wonk said...

Tuesday's Tidbits:

- The Braves (as many of us know) battered around in the 14th inning last night. What fewer realize is that this was _after_ they had a stretch where 27 consecutive batters failed to record a hit.

- The A’s are 10-0 against the Pirates all time

- The Rays are the fourth different second-place team in the American League East in four days

- Of players with 100+ AB's, Josh Hamilton has the seventh-highest slugging percentage. On his team.

- As 222 noted above: with two outs in the ninth and a one-run lead, Carlos Gomez climbed the wall in center field and stole a two-run home run from Joey Votto (anybody have a link to a video?)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...
Great baseball family. But he needs a nickname.


I'm hoping it's ScHair and pronounced Scare as he puts the fright in opposing teams!

hiramhover said...

will Hariston have the same impact that Suzuki had in 2012...my bet is that he will

I'd turn that around--I hope coming over to the Nats has the same impact on Hairston's offense that it did on Kurt's, which was pretty bad at Oakland last year, but much better with the Nats.

Section 222 said...

Here's the Gomez catch.

http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?cid=mlb&content_id=28736049

And while you're at it, check out this hilarious example of why you need to run out every play, regardless of how certain it seems that you don't have to. Now that's embarrassing.

http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?cid=mlb&content_id=28736323

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

mick said...
on another note...I hear Matt Kemp is done for 8 weeks....do Dodgers unload some guys at the end of July if they fall 10 back, and do Nats go after anyone?


Kemp and Crawford both sidelined. That could put a big crimp in their plans.

With AGonz, Puig, and Hanley mashing and clutch hits from Ellis they were starting to look like a contender.

Would not surprise me in the least if they went after a CF immediately.

Their pitching is now better than the Nats although Fife just went on the DL they still have Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu and Nolasco. That is 3 pitchers below a 2.99 ERA and Kershaw is best in the Majors.

Kemp is a loss but not a huge loss as he was having a tough year. Hanley and Puig are mashing.

hiramhover said...

Wonk

Vid of that catch is here

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Carlos Gomez was once a NY Met and was part of the mega deal trade to the Twins for Johan Santana. The Twins then traded Gomez straight up to the Brewers for JJ Hardy.

The Twins then traded JJ Hardy to Baltimore for with Brendan Harris and cash for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey.

The eventual winners in the Carlos Gomez trades was the Brewers and the Orioles and to a lesser extent the Mets as Johan never lived up to the huge contract. Always interesting to see how the pieces got shuffled around.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Deuces, thanks for those links--I love how they showed the Gomez catch from every source they had, with all the reactions. I could watch that again all year; a Thing of Beauty. And the Swisher link should probably go into the glossary under "You Think OUR Guys Are Dogging It? THIS is dogging it."

mick said...

interesting analysis Ghost..thanks

Hiram..you stated it much better about Hairston

mick said...

wondering if Tracy is helped by Hairston...in other words, is there less pressure on him now.it seems like Tracy does make contact, it just is not solid all the time

Section 222 said...

hh, if you're so inclined, the NIDO spreadsheet is here. :-) Just add yourself to the drink owers. I also accept cash, credit cards, or PayPal, but a virtual drink is cheaper.

Knoxville Nat said...

Now that we added Hairston to the bench as the RH bat Davey was looking for does Rizzo go after a LH bat or stick with Tracy? Who is out there to trade for? Raul Ibanez anyone?

mick said...

trying to figure out what went wrong with Tyler Moore this season? I thought he might have been the perfect power hitter off the bench

natsfan1a said...

Wow. It sure is.

222 said...

Now that's embarrassing.

mick said...

heard an interesting comment from a coach this morning about the Nats hitting approach...from his standpoint he feels that most of veterans are trying to hit it out of the park on their first swing and that Eck really is not to blame, that it is more a situation of these guys trying to do too much or in some cases, just being selfish.

I thought it was an interesting analysis from the standpoint that maybe veteran players do not listen to hitting coaches and a hitting coach may give to much flexibility to a veteran player

NatsLady said...

Wow, Yasmani Grandal out for 9-12 months.

Grandal

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/07/09/yasmani-grandal-out-9-12-months-after-knee-surgery/

mick said...

Carlos Gomez keeps Nats only 4 back of WC

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Raul Ibanez anyone?

He'd expect to start, and Seattle would probably need way more than a 3-month rental for a bench bat would be worth.

SCNatsFan said...

Swisher should be embarassed. Talk about an overpay.

To add to the oddities, the most expensive player on the Marlins payroll is Heath Bell, who of course isn't there anymore.

alexva said...

mick, as Davey has pointed out hitting off the bench is difficult. the league also figured out that you don't try to sneak a fastball by Tyler

JD said...


The left handed bat to go after IMO is: Nate Schierholtz.

NatsLady said...

From baseballprospectus "daily hit list"

The Nationals used Chad Tracy as a pinch-hitter. Chad Tracy is hitting .136/.176/.259. Chad Tracy: because we all need to be reminded once in a while how difficult it is to hit.

Section 222 said...

JD, no kidding. Playing every day has sure suited him eh?

BigCat said...

Mick....I have always thought that the vets don't listen to Eck cause they don't respect him because he has never played baseball at a high level. When they have problems, they go elsewhere for help

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

BigCat said...
Mick....I have always thought that the vets don't listen to Eck cause they don't respect him because he has never played baseball at a high level. When they have problems, they go elsewhere for help


Werth goes to him. I think you are right on some of the other vets and LaRoche publicly said he goes to Chipper Jones ;)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

mick said...
heard an interesting comment from a coach this morning about the Nats hitting approach...from his standpoint he feels that most of veterans are trying to hit it out of the park on their first swing and that Eck really is not to blame, that it is more a situation of these guys trying to do too much or in some cases, just being selfish.

I thought it was an interesting analysis from the standpoint that maybe veteran players do not listen to hitting coaches and a hitting coach may give to much flexibility to a veteran player


We've discussed that here and most flyballs die as harmless 300+ foot outs, just ask Denard Span.

That mentality is why some teams are better in extra inning and close games as they are shortening up for good contact and not the glory of the walk-off HR.

NatsLady said...

From a frustrated Barves fan. Clever title, too.

Death by a thousand cuts

http://www.bugsandcranks.com/drewperry/baseball/death-by-a-thousand-cuts/

mick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Section 222 said...

Yet all the vets say that Eck is doing a great job. I think I'll believe them over the armchair psychologists or folks who say they can't see him doing anything in the dugout from their perches in the upper deck or on their couches and so he must not being doing anything. And this, the day after the Nats have finished an eight game stretch during which they scored 56 runs. Blaming last night on the hitting coach seems pretty ridiculous to me.

mick said...

BigCat...so even if Eck is providing valuable knowledge, it is being wasted if that attitude is prevalent. If that is so, can one deem that has disrespectful towards the manager? Davey is 100% behind Eck and if veteran players are not buying into or listening to him, does not Davey have an obligation to defend his coach?

I honestly do not know what the situation is and whether or not Eck is to blame for the team's hitting situation

mick said...

Section 222

what is the situation and who is correct?..you say vets respect him, other analyst say maybe that is not rue...who is correct?

I honestly do not know that is why I pose the question. I am actually being fair to Eck

Ghost has a good post on hitting mentality

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

It's no different from vets on other teams. You have players like Harper who will go to his Dad and guys that go back to their High School coach like Desi.

I know the Nats are no different in that regard and if the batter can't make it work then they find the unemployment line. It's a cruel world and Davey has Eck's back.

By the way, McGwire is getting credit for resurgence of the Dodgers bats. Student/teacher or teacher/studen.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Hitters, especially slumping ones, tend to talk to more than one person. Sometimes they will talk to almost anybody who will listen, depending on how bad a slump they're in. So it doesn't surprise me that LaRoche would talk to his old friend who already knows him, a HOF-bound hitter. And if it hadn't worked, we would probably never remember we ever heard that.

I can't generally tell from watching on TV who they respect or what they think of his career choices. I'd be interested in knowing how to do that.

mick said...

Ghost and sofa...good points

Section 222 said...

Last night, among the many excuses for Haren's rocky start offered by FP and Carp was the fact that he didn't have a rehab start. If that was actually a factor, my question is, "why not?" You can't defer to his veteran knowledge about what he needs to be ready to rejoin the rotation and then, when he isn't sharp at first, say "well, this was his rehab start."

I'm afrad that Rizzo is going to have a painful conversation with the Lerners pretty soon. Ted and Mark, he'll have to say, I goofed. Haren isn't what I thought he'd be. I wish I could fix that, but I can't. The question for you is whether you still want to win this year. If so, and I think we have a shot, it's going to cost you -- it means that the $13 mill I convinced you to spend on Haren is down the drain, and you'll have to shell out for a rental that's not going to be cheap. So what do you say? How much do you want this? Because I'm going to give it to you straight, even though I won't say it publicly -- Haren, RossO, TaylorJ, and NateK aren't going to get us where you want to go.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

mick said...

Ghost has a good post on hitting mentality


Thanks and the best hitting coaches are usually the ones with the best players.

Slump buster coaches and those that grasp the mental aspect are key.

By the way, McGwire when he was a player was influencing Albert Pujols in 2001. McGwire grasps the whole mental aspect because he lived it.

Section 222 said...

mick, just because ALR talked with Chipper when we were in Atlanta or Harper gets advice from his dad, doesn't mean they don't respect Eck. I'm pretty sure we've seen comments from Zim and others that they like Eck and think he does a good job. Beyond that, I have no idea what they really think, and I don't think anyone else here does either.

mick said...

sec 22

good post...however, I think down the road, 2014 and on... Taylor Jordan has a chance to be quite good

also...clearly the Nats have a chance to make post season this year...I agree with you that such a conversation will take place and maybe it already has? I think the Lerners will grant Rizzo the chance to pick up a starter the last 3 months

Section 222 said...

NL, that Braves' blog post is classic. Thanks for directing us to it.

Section 222 said...

I definitely agree he has a chance to be good down the road. No argument there. If the Lerners want to win this year, they need to open the checkbook. No other way.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...
. And if it hadn't worked, we would probably never remember we ever heard that.


That is a great point. We rarely hear of what doesn't work.

I sat down with Morse a year ago and he talked about the influence Werth had on his career and the preparedness with what Morse called body and soul and he mixed that with all the help Ichiro gave him.

Morse no longer has Werth as a mentor or Ichiro. He maybe has Ibanez but the point is your peers, and in most cases the other players will have more of an effect than the hitting coaches ever will.

I won't give too many secrets on what Michael told me, but it was more of an insight of how great Werth is as influence and leader behind the scenes.

If Werth endorses Eck which he has, Eck may keep his job next year when the new manager is hired.

Sec222, that a$$ whooping from Ted Lerner has already happened. The day that man is gone, I fear for the direction of the team. I think it could become more of an open checkbook with less accountibility.

mick said...

to add...Haren's next start may answer when such a conversation takes place with Mark and Ted... if Haren can pitch like he did last night ...then maybe that is enough...if he fails, it is clear Rizzo has to go in a different direction by the end of July

mick said...

I fear for the direction of the team. I think it could become more of an open checkbook with less accountibility.

Ghost, why???

mick said...

what is difference between Ted and Mark? it seems they are bth on same page. am i wrong?

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

If the Lerners want to win this year, they need to open the checkbook [again]. No other way.

Although, the team is averaging 33,253 per game, so it's not as if they can't recoup the losses. Get into the NLCS, and they probably break even.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

That's 11th-best in MLB, btw, and 7th-best as a percentage of seats.

Section 222 said...

Sofa, I don't pretend to understand the entire economic picture, but I tend to agree with you that going deep in the playoffs will easily pay for itself, if what it takes is a $10 million investment in a decent starter to fill that 5th spot. That's also why I've said that if the Nats can build a winner, and draw consistently in the mid 30s per game, they can afford to keep both Stras and Harper, and probably JZnn too. You have to spend money to make money as they say.

Get Some Players said...

Ryan Matheus in rehab tweets:

Just watched Giolito pitch in the GCL. Big time stuff. Wow! #realdeal

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

If they get even two home games in the NLDS (at playoff prices, remember, not regular season ticket prices), and two or three in the NLCS, times what? 42,000? That's got to be a nice chunk of change, even after paying everybody.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

And then there's the carryover effect winning has on the following year(s). Shouldn't be that tough a call, I figure.

Of course, that's easy for me to say, about their money.

NatsLady said...

Don't forget the MASSIVE amount of gear they sell if the team goes to postseason.

Eugene in Oregon said...

On the HR-saving Carlos Gomez catch vs. the Reds, what was Joey Votto starting to argue before he gave up and threw his arms over his head? Simply that Mr. Gomez had violated the laws of physics and should be arrested? Or something more specific to the rules of baseball? Any notion?

On the issue of Mike Rizzo having to go to the Lerners and admit he had made a mistake with Dan Haren, what's the shame in that? Yes, it was a $13m miscalculation, but isn't that the cost of running of baseball team? Don't you have to take such risks to put together a contending team? You eat the contract and move on. I think the Lerner family are smart enough business people to understand that.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

I'm guessing a achievable target for them in coming seasons (for the sake of round numbers) is probably 3,000,000, which is about 90 of capacity. SF, St. Louis, and Boston are all doing that or better now, and Philly and Detroit (of all places!) are close.

Eric said...

Eugene, it kinda/sorta looked like the ball went over. I think he was arguing that Gomez missed the ball and was feigning his celebration. Then, I assume he saw the ball and threw his hands up in disappointment.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Don't forget the MASSIVE amount of gear they sell if the team goes to postseason.

Even after MLB's cut, indeed massive. And then there's the beer and hot dogs and cotton candy and sodas and and and.

Tcostant said...

Wow! It doesn't get old hearing the Nationals a "winning team".

BTW - Baseball America just ranked the top 50 midseason prospects playing in the minors. If I scanned correctly, not one Nationals on the list. At least our current team is young.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/midseason-prospect-update-top-50-prospects/

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

Votto's ball was unambiguously over the fence. Votto 1) could NOT BELIEVE what he just saw, and 2) didn't see the ball--it was still in Gomez's glove--and wanted to be sure they checked that he wasn't faking it, he really did have it, because [DANG]!

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

And yes, Gomez did show them the ball. On the replays you can see it sooner, but Votto was dead sure he'd gotten that one.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

*90% of capacity.

That Old-School, Prestigious Way of Scooter said...

I rather suspect that the team's front office has a decent idea of the financial rewards from making the playoffs.

After all, why else would they go get Scott "Playoff Propelling Puzzle Piece" Hairston?

(My attempt at a nickname. Of course, I'm fairly certain they'll just call him "Hairy," no matter what I say in here.)

That Old-School, Prestigious Way of Scooter said...

Actually, it'd be best if he were a Pennant-Propelling Puzzle Piece, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

I rather suspect that the team's front office has a decent idea of the financial rewards from making the playoffs.

So if they don't read the blog comments, what's the purpose of having them?

One more thought on Eck, and what hitting coaches do: Try this on: Hitting coaches collect and analyze data on opposing pitchers, and their own hitters, and they make it available to the players. Don't think of them as coaches in the sense of teachers, think of them as more like executive assistants.

Sec. 3, My Sofa said...

a Pennant-Propelling Puzzle Piece

Now there's a good idea for a mascot, but I'm not sure where he'd propel the pennants from ... best not to ask.

JD said...


Re the bottom of the rotation. If it was just one slot we could probably scrape through the rest of the year but with both 4 & 5 a large question mark we may need to do something.

Remember that starting pitching will be the hottest ticket before and at the trade deadline. THe number of reliable arms is limited and there will be more buyers than sellers and you know what that means. If you are a general manager who owns the rights to: Peavy, Norris, Garza or Harrell and your team is going no where this is your chance to hold out for serious young talent as well as salary relief.

I have to say that the Dodgers did well to acquire Nolasco early and I think Miami could have done better but of course to them it was just a question of salary relief.

NatsLady said...

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Cardinals have released Wigginton, meaning they paid $5 million for 63 terrible plate appearances.

NatsLady said...

With regard to Lannan: Suppose Rizzo had kept him, and kept him as the No. 5 starter, and he'd gotten four more wins than Haren. Fine, the Nats would still be 2nd in the Division--and you know what you would be hearing---"Why didn't Rizzo upgrade???? Why is he so cheap with the Lerner's money."

Rizzo thought, sincerely thought, that Haren would be a substantial upgrade over Lannan. IF he didn't he wouldn't have made the acquisition and released Lannan. Now, whether he should have upgraded with Lohse or a trade is a different question.

That Old-School, Prestigious Way of Scooter said...

Sec3, we comment because this is where the other teams get their information. This being the Information Age, we are not permitted to withhold it.

Ron In Reston said...

NL, that Barves rant sure sounded awfully familiar. Just change the names and it could have been written by any number of the members of the LoD, assuming they could type :)

JD said...


NL,

The Cardinals are universally considered at the top of the MLB as far as organizational track records are concerned. I guess Rizzo isn't the only 'idiot' in the game.

hiramhover said...

222

My cyber debt is acknowledged. Also, thanks for that link about Swisher - what a bonehead play!

UnkyD said...

Sure are a lot of "open checkbook" comments here today... One would almost think it was wintertime, and starting pitchers could be had for mere ridiculous sums of money. It's not...any significant pitching upgrade will cost multiple prospects..... Not saying it won't or shouldn't happen, but its not simply a payroll issue...

JD said...


BTW,

I thought Haren pitched well enough yesterday. I wasn't pleased with the cookie Abad through Rollins on an 0-2 pitch though. Turned out to be the difference in the game.

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