If Swisher Wants A Werth-like Deal, What’s Hairston Worth?

Scott Hairston: 334 AB, .266 AVG, 24 2B, 19 HR, 52 RBI, .834 OPS

It has been widely speculated that Nick Swisher will be seeking out a deal similar to Jayson Werth’s seven-year, $126M contract, when he hits free-agency at the end of the 2012 season. I’m no mathematician, but that means Swisher would be making about $18M per year if he gets what he wants. Jason Bay made $18M in 2012, so it strengthens Swisher’s case, but I just don’t see him as a $15M+ per year player. And if Swisher is looking for this kind of money, it makes me wonder what Scott Hairston is really worth?

Scott Hairston? Why Scott Hairston? Because his numbers are surprisingly comparable to Swisher’s, and he had about 150 less at bats under his belt. Some would actually argue that Hairston has had a better year statiscally than Swisher because of that.

Nick Swisher: 497 AB, .260 AVG, 33 2B, 21 HR, 83 RBI, .802 OPS

He’s Swisher the sailor man…sorry couldn’t resist after seeing that picture of Swisher making his Popeye face.

Back to the evidence at hand – Swisher really only trumps Hairston in the RBI category, which is expected since he was on a team that scored a heck of a lot more runs, and he had more at bats to accumulate them with. Swisher also strikes out more than Hairston – 26.9% of the time for Swisher, versus 22.8% of the time for Hairston. So why is Swisher worth close to $20M per year, and Hairston closer to $4M per year? Better yet, why would the Mets even consider looking for a free-agent to play right field in 2013, when they already have a guy on their roster putting up similar numbers to one of the biggest free-agents that will be available at season’s end?

Re-sign Scott Hairston at a discount (compared to what Swisher will be getting), and make him the starting right fielder for 2013. Hairston isn’t perfect, but he has earned the opportunity to be an everyday major league player. If Hairston ended the season with about 500 at bats, he probably would’ve ended with a .250 avg, 30 HR, and 75-90 RBI. I’ll take that coming from a guy that will cost us less than $5M per year to sign. Leave it to the Yankees to pay Swisher triple the amount, for the same sort of production.