Hairston signed two separate one year deals with the Mets, both worth $1.1 million for 2011 and 2012. Jones was paid $1.5 million in 2011 and re-signed for $2 million for 2012. Hairston’s value is strictly tied to his ability to hit lefties, as he’s league average or worse against same side pitchers. Thus, he probably won’t get too much on the open market, but he likely merits a raise from $1.1 million. On a one year pact, there’s certainly room in the Yankees’ budget to bring him in.
Last season, Hairston finished with a .263/.299/.504 slash line, with 20 home runs, good for a 118 wRC+. Against lefties, however, he hit 11 home runs in 199 PAs and a 135 wRC+ propped by a .286/.317/.550 slash line. For his career against lefties: 119 wRC+, .276/.325/.500 and a .224 ISO.
Hairston plays a pretty good left field, to boot. His career UZR/150 at that position is 6.3, so he can certainly get the job done out there. He’s not as good in right or center field, where he is below average.
So, on a one year deal, I would probably cap my offer at $3 million. Unfortunately, the Yankees may have had an in-house option had they not lost Justin Maxwell in Spring Training to the Astros, who put up a 144 wRC+ vs. lefties in 2012. That’s another story for another time, however. Nonetheless, Hairston is most likely an upgrade over Jones and the Yankees should certainly reach out to him as he would be a viable asset vs. lefties and off the bench.
If you haven’t gotten a chance, take a look at our thoughts on another potential outfield free agent target, Torii Hunter.