Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
Scott Hairston is still rumored to be a St. Louis Cardinals target, but will they go multiple years on a bench bat?
The St. Louis Cardinals' bench could use another hitter, now that Skip Schumaker is out of the picture, and the Scott Hairston rumors are continuing apace: MLB Daily Dish had the latest yesterday, grouping the Cardinals with the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, the San Francisco Giants, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Perhaps more importantly, they also noted that Hairston is interested in a multi-year contract. Coming off the best season of his career, he'll probably get one.
Hairston is an interesting bench player, the rare power-first reserve center fielder. At 33 his range probably isn't exceptional, and he can't hit right handers or get on base enough for a full-time job, but against lefties he's a career .276/325/.500 hitter. He certainly makes more sense than Schumaker as a reserve for the left-handed Jon Jay, and he's a strong-enough hitter and corner-outfielder that he could get some at-bats off the bench and in left or right. He'd upgrade the bench in St. Louis, like he would most places.
But he's coming off a season in which he got almost 400 at-bats, and the Cardinals, with Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, and Oscar Taveras on the bench or in Memphis, aren't in a position to get him there even if Carlos Beltran and/or Allen Craig get hurt again.
Hairston makes sense for the Cardinals, but that's where things remain, even without Schumaker: Unless they give him more years or more dollars than everybody else on that list, it doesn't seem like the Cards are the best fit for him.