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Rizzo acknowledged today he had some interest in signing Hairston as a free agent over the winter, then set his sights on the 33-year-old as a trade target several weeks ago. Rizzo had been in discussions with the Cubs and made a concerted effort to get the deal done before this week's series against the Phillies.
"Scott was the main guy we were looking for," Rizzo said. "He kind of fit the parameters that we were looking for as far as the history of doing exactly what we brought him in here to do. Being knowledgeable of the league had a lot to do with it. Knowing some of the players in the clubhouse and knowing the makeup, character and work ethic of the player put him at the top of our list."
The Nationals sent 21-year-old right-hander Ivan Pineyro to the Cubs in exchange for Hairston. The deal, which was finalized late last night, also included a swap of players-to-be-named later, though the Nats could receive cash instead, helping cover some of the remaining $3.5 million owed to Hairston through 2014.