2008 Reds / Reds - General

Jerry Hairston back soon?

Jerry Hairston is very close to coming back, but the Reds are trying to be careful with him:

Hairston remained in the dugout Thursday, Aug. 7, against the Houston Astros, even though he ran the bases hard in front of trainer Mark Mann and hitting coach Brook Jacoby.

“It went good, real good,” said Hairston of the hamstring test. “We’ll see how it reacts tomorrow. I’m hoping a couple of days. What I don’t want is a setback.”

Neither does manager Dusty Baker, which is why he is being cautious.

“When he comes back we want him in there every day,” Baker said. “We know, by his record, what he means to us.”

Hairston has been a fine player for the Reds this year. He’s really had a good season; at least, it’s been good when he’s been able to play.

Go look at Hairston’s career stats. Tell me which season doesn’t look like the others.

Why would anyone think that Hairston will duplicate the 192 great ABs that he’s had this year? Isn’t is more likely that Hairston will be more like the player who put up an OPS below 700 (!) in more than 2500 ABs before this season?

Hairston is a nice little player to have on the bench. He’s versatile, won’t kill you at any position, and he’s fairly athletic (when healthy)…but an everyday player, he isn’t. If a guy has two hot months at age 32, it doesn’t mean he is a great player all of a sudden.

If it’s up to Dusty Baker, I’m sure Hairston will be the Opening Day center fielder next year. One can only hope that GM Walt Jocketty has more sense than that.

11 thoughts on “Jerry Hairston back soon?

  1. The whole Hairston siutation drives me nuts. How many times are the Reds going to try to make starters out of fringe players lucky to make a roster. Then they have a career year and get crazy money (see Ross, David). Then when they suck for the next few years, we are stuck watching a crappy team. Then the Reds will sign veterans past their prime because of their “experience” and we are saddled with their outragous contracts as well (see Stanton, Mike). And finally there is the great off season signings that will take us over the top, and fail miserably (see Milton, Eric).

    It is nice seeing some talent we have developed (Bruce, Votto, Dunn, Cueto) but it not nearly enough. Look at the successful small market teams, and they develop their own talent and are in the race nearly every year (Twins, A’s). It would be nice to be competive once in a while.

  2. Broadcasters and writers often talk about fans and their crazy ideas, and then do stuff like this. Can anyone say “career year?” Or recognize one? Hairston can’t even stay healthy and on the field to have his career year this season.

  3. I thought the same thing during Marty and Hal’s little polemic.

    I applaud Jerry Hairston for his 2008 season. He has helped out the Reds considerably, but he is not an everyday centerfielder. Don’t we have a kid named Jay Bruce who can command that spot for the next decade?

  4. I think Jay Bruce is ideally an everyday RF.

    But I TOTALLY agree about Hairston. It’s his career year, and he’s been fantastic. But what do you think his true level is? 200 great AB’s at age 32? Or the 2500 AB’s he had before that?

    I hope the decision makers are smart enough to see that this is a lucky small sample.

    I wouldn’t mind having Hairston back next year, cheap, as a utility guy.

    But to count on him as a starter would be a huge mistake. That’s the type of move that bad teams make, period.

  5. I totally agree about not penciling in Jerry Hairston for CF next year. He’s an excellent utility player and that’s his value to the Reds. As for his hitting stats for this year, think of Keppenger’s stats for 2007. As many on this blog predicted, he’s returned to earth this year. That’s largely due to his having to play every day this year, it’s worn him out. Keppinger is another fine utility player who should not be considered as an everday option at any position (please not at SS next year).

    Having said that, Hairston’s value to the team this year, when he’s been on the playing field, has been profound.
    I don’t think the Reds huge difference in record with vs. without him is a complete fluke. That’s because he’s been a good leadoff hitter and, other than him, we don’t have one. Take last nite as an example. If you review the game, you’ll see the leadoff hitter was involved in 3 critical at bats where a hit or a walk could have changed the whole game. It didn’t happen. (I’m cheating bit, Keppinger did get a hit in one rally.) But 1 for 5 on base for a leadoff hitter does not cut it.

    As for Bruce, I like him best in RF.

  6. PS Dan, I see a lot of overlap between our statements, I didn’t see yours until after posting mine.

  7. .286/11HR/53RBI/.385OBP/.864OPS

    Chris Dickerson’s stats at Louisville.

    I wrote Mark Sheldon the other day and asked WTF with regard to Patterson playing over Dickerson. Here’s what he said:

    John,

    I’d love to give you a logical answer but I’m afraid no logic is being
    employed in the club’s decision to keep Patterson on the roster. I’m not
    sure Dickerson is the answer right now but he certainly can’t be any
    worse.

    Thanks,

    MLS.

  8. Even more interesting is a look at Hairston’s home/road splits this year:

    2008 GABP: .448 .500 .644 1.144

    2008 Elsewhere: .257 .304 .352 .657

    Career: .259 .329 .366 .695

    Marty and Hal are embarassing themselves. This whole thing is over 125 PA at home this year, where he’s hit better than any player in baseball history (Ruth’s career OPS is 1.1638).

  9. To be fair to Hairston 4 years ago in Baltimore he hit .302 with a .378 OBP. Then he was traded to Chicago. Had a crappy year with them that ended with him breaking a bone in his back or rib I can’t remember now. Then he was bad. He got it fixed last year and says he’s finally healthy for the first time in a long time and he’s showing that.

    However to call his wonderful career year a sure thing that will translate into the future is foolish. I like the guy and his attitude he brings on the field.

    I’m fine signing him to a one or MAYBE two year deal that brings low risk to the club in case he returns to the back of his baseball card. I’m talking low money or more incentive based contract. He could be a valuable player just like Ryan Freel can be for their versatility and speed. Having guys that can play every position but pitcher and catcher is a great benefit.

  10. I just read this on espn.com — it’s a quote from new Pirates GM Neal Huntington:

    “The day we start making decisions based on perception or short-term performance spikes will be the day we begin to fail.”

    Seemed apropos here… I hope we have people in the front office who realize that!

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