Originally Posted by bucksfan2
How much stock to you put in his injury? From all reports Hariston had a cracked rib in his back that he thought was back pain for a couple of years. Whose to say that Hariston had improved as a ball player but the back pain prohibited him from performing at the level he could.
Look at his atbats. He is not overmatched at the plate and isn't getting lucky. He is putting up good at bats and hitting the ball well. If that disappears in the second half then thank him for his services but if that doesn't then a 2 year deal similar to what Freel got isn't that bad of a thing.
Maybe it's semantics. You're right, he's not getting "lucky" per se'. He's legitimately hitting all of those line drives.
However, the issue is that he's hitting the at a rate which is 100% unsustainable. He's not Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, or Ted Williams -- and even they couldn't hit line drives that often. Among players with 200 PA, Hairston is a full 2.5% above the next highest guy, Jamey Carroll. In 2007, the major league leader was Michael Young, at 27.2%, who at 25.2% is among the greatest LD hitters in the game today. The fact that Hairston doesn't show the secondary skills (isolated discipline and power), which tend to correlate to this sort of success, is icing on the cake.
Simply put, Hairston is not going to keep hitting line drives 30% of the time. And when he regresses back to something around his career average, 22.9%, his AVG, OBP, and SLG will all fall precipitously.
Don't get me wrong. I like Hairston and would prefer to have him around rather than Freel. But he's not a .900 OPS guy. He's not likely an .800 OPS guy beyond this season and I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he drops below .800 yet this year. He's your standard utility guy who does nothing particularly great but can play smart baseball, play good enough defense at a few positions, and fill a bench role on a good team. I know he's been hot so far this year, but there are lots of Hairston-esque players out there and you don't have to pay them multiple millions and commit to multiple years to get them.
Paying him say $3.5M (or $2.5M) this year for this year's .800+ OPS would be fine. But he's already giving us that production for less. There's no reason to pay him $3.5M in 2009 and 2010 for the likely .730 he'll put up merely because we happened to get a good deal in 2008.
The logic which suggests Hairston should be extended is precisely the sort of logic that justified the Rheal Cormier extension. Take your good fortune and cash in. Don't double down on bad odds.