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View Full Version : The importance of a lead-off hitter



Lockdwn11
07-13-2008, 12:07 PM
With everyone talking about Adam Dunn and if the Reds should re-sign him maybe we should be talking more about re-signing Jerry Hairston Jr.. The Reds are 20-10 when he starts and 26-39 when he doesn't. I know he is 32 years old and not as good as he is playing right now. I also know that he is a Career .260 hitter but as it has been stated before injuries played a part in that. So, I do feel he is good enough to be the short term answer to our lead-off troubles with ability to put up a line of .285/362/420 I mean if the Reds are willing to pay Corey Patterson 3 mill for a year surely Jerry Hairston Jr is worth 2-3 mill for 2-3 years.

RedsFanInBama
07-13-2008, 12:16 PM
He should be in the lineup every day for this team. But I don't think he's the answer. I'd love to resign him though because even if he cools he is solid enough to give you a super reserve who can play every position except pitcher, first, and catcher.

Fullboat
07-13-2008, 12:28 PM
I would like to sign Hairston to a cheap two year deal heavy on incentives.He is definatly playing
over his head though and I doubt he is going to want a bench role.He could be Freel's replacement with more playing time.

ChatterRed
07-13-2008, 12:45 PM
I'd sign Hairston right now.

Orodle
07-13-2008, 12:52 PM
I'd sign Hairston right now.

I concur

FlightRick
07-13-2008, 01:31 PM
He could be Freel's replacement with more playing time.

And there's the rub: if we can find a taker for Freel, then we can (in good conscience) extend Hairston.

But if we can't unload Freel, then we can't take the chance of having the same mistake on the roster twice. Especially when you add in the fact that Keppinger is, in many ways, essentially the third head on our current Three-Headed Super-Sub Monster, and is younger and cheaper than the other two.

We're ALL loving Hairston and it's because he's single-handedly solved our Lead-Off Conundrum. But it's worth noting that -- in seasons where he has played 100 games or gotten 300 ABs -- Hairston's previous best OBP was .336 (with a career OBP of .329 and that INCLUDES this year's amazing tear).

Meantime: the LOWEST OBP posted by Freel in a season of 100 games/300ABs is .363 (career .357). Keppinger has never had a 100 game/300AB season, but is OBP'ing .361 for his young career.

Two no-pop, 85-ish OPS+, right-handed supersubs/platoon guys would be perfectly fine for a well-constructed bench. Three no-pop, sub-100 OPS+, RH supersubs is one too many. And to me, that's still what Hairston is (not a guaranteed everyday player), which makes his future with the Reds totally dependent on moves made with other similar players on our roster, one of whom is under an over-priced contract and one of whom is dirt cheap for another year or two.

Eric Davis
07-13-2008, 02:03 PM
And there's the rub: if we can find a taker for Freel, then we can (in good conscience) extend Hairston.

But if we can't unload Freel, then we can't take the chance of having the same mistake on the roster twice. Especially when you add in the fact that Keppinger is, in many ways, essentially the third head on our current Three-Headed Super-Sub Monster, and is younger and cheaper than the other two.

We're ALL loving Hairston and it's because he's single-handedly solved our Lead-Off Conundrum. But it's worth noting that -- in seasons where he has played 100 games or gotten 300 ABs -- Hairston's previous best OBP was .336 (with a career OBP of .329 and that INCLUDES this year's amazing tear).

Meantime: the LOWEST OBP posted by Freel in a season of 100 games/300ABs is .363 (career .357). Keppinger has never had a 100 game/300AB season, but is OBP'ing .361 for his young career.

Two no-pop, 85-ish OPS+, right-handed supersubs/platoon guys would be perfectly fine for a well-constructed bench. Three no-pop, sub-100 OPS+, RH supersubs is one too many. And to me, that's still what Hairston is (not a guaranteed everyday player), which makes his future with the Reds totally dependent on moves made with other similar players on our roster, one of whom is under an over-priced contract and one of whom is dirt cheap for another year or two.


I think you summed it up well. I'm enjoying the tear Hairston is on right now but based off his body of work he is quite simply playing above and beyond his capabilities. I'd love to have him as a utility player but if you depend on him to be your every day leadoff hitter for next season we're going to be in for a big letdown. I'm sure injuries limited him a bit over his career but if the guy has been hurt for ten years then is that really an excuse? That would make me more scared to depend on him if he can't stay healthy. Ride him while he's hot and let him finish the year but in the offseason they need to find a true leadoff hitter.

p.s. I'd also be curious as to what kind of supplements Hairston is taking right now.

Brutus
07-13-2008, 02:13 PM
Make no mistake about it, the Reds are a better team with Jerry Hairston in the lineup at this moment.

Problem is, to this point in his career, he had never had an OPS over 700 in a full season. I guess it's definitely possible for a guy to emerge late in his career like this, but I would be surprised if he didn't regress next season. Re-signing Hairston may not be a bad idea regardless because of his speed and versatility, but I'd not spend much money on him in doing so.

FlightRick
07-13-2008, 04:24 PM
Well, clearly there is a special wing at Valhalla or Mt. Olympus or wherever your god(s) of choice reside... and in that little room, the fates of Spinal Tap drummers and Cincinnati Reds shortstops are decided.

This entire thread may have just been rendered pointless: they're saying "strained hamstring" for Hairston. But that's the same thing they said about Freel, who's going to end up being on the shelf for 8 full weeks once all is said and done.

If Hairston's in the same boat, that's essentially the season for him. If so, it may also be his Reds career. I vote that we err on the side of caution, and make sure to honor his tenure here by making the run he created (but which was technically scored by Jay Bruce) stand up against the hated Brewers today.