Scott Hairston: Wants Expanded Role, Will Cost Mets Much More

Anthony DiComo of, posted about Scott Hairston before the weekend who told him that where he signs after this season will be dependent upon getting more playing time.

Scott Hairston started his 10th consecutive game in the outfield Sunday, a notable feat. Signed last winter to serve as a right-handed bench bat and platoon outfielder, Hairston has played nearly every day down the stretch and will finish with close to 400 plate appearances, his highest total since 2009.

He is also enjoying the most productive season of his nine-year career, swatting a personal-best 19 home runs while slugging over .500. All of which leads Hairston to believe that when he becomes a free agent again this winter, he will be able to market himself as an everyday player.

“Wherever I wind up next year, I just want to have an expanded role,” Hairston said. “I’ve been able to get around 360 at-bats this year, and I would hope to get at least that many next year, whether it’s here or somewhere else.”

I can’t fault Hairston for wanting an expanded role based on what he’s done overall, but a look at his splits shows that he’s clearly done most of his damage against left-handed pitching against whom he’s enjoyed a .885 OPS – over 150 points higher than his .716 OPS against right-handed pitching.

Adding even more fuel to the debate about whether the Mets should bring Hairston back is the issue of money – always a major consideration with the Mets these days. Hairston was signed to a $1.1 million contract for the 2012 season. The 32-year old provided a lot of thump for the Mets in his limited role, racking up 25 doubles and 19 homers while driving in 54 runs in 386 plate appearances. That’s a lot of bang for the buck, but he could easily fetch a $4-5 million dollar per year deal for a team that’s craving right-handed power this offseason.

Hairston’s likely loss will be a big blow to the Mets who are already among the worst in the majors in the power department. Losing their third leading home run hitter is just another thing they will have to try and replace this offseason. If you add David Wright or Ike Davis to those not coming back, it may be 4-5 years to get back on the grid in terms of offensive output.