The Nationals have been looking around for a right-handed bench player, someone who can provide some pop and depth in the outfield.
They reportedly got such a guy tonight.
According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Nats have acquired outfielder Scott Hairston from the Cubs for a minor league pitcher.
I don’t expect to be able to confirm details at this late hour, but we’ll know more tomorrow.
The 33-year-old Hairston hit 20 home runs with the Mets last season, and after homering today, he has eight this year.
He’s posted a .172/.232/.434 slash line this season, but has hit left-handed pitching very well over his career. Hairston has a career OPS of .813 against lefties, although that OPS this season is .685.
Hairston signed a two-year, $5 million deal with the Cubs prior to this season, so he isn’t just a rental. Nats general manager Mike Rizzo prefers to make deals that benefit the team in a bigger picture as well as short-term, so this trade fits that mold.
Nationals pinch-hitters have really struggled this season, posting a .174/.208/.313 slash line. Tyler Moore is batting .077 in pinch-hit situations, and manager Davey Johnson often talks about how tough it is for a younger player to get inconsistent playing time and be called upon off the bench.
Hairston gives the Nats a veteran guy who is used to this type of role. He can be platooned against left-handed starters when Johnson wants to give one of his lefties a day off, and can come off the bench late in games when Johnson wants to match up.
Hairston is the brother of former Nationals utility man Jerry Hairston Jr.
Update: The deal is official. See details here.