Hairston, a lefty masher, would fit well into the Tigers outfield plans for 2013, but are the Tigers looking to add another bat to the roster?
Who is he?
Hairston is a 32 year old outfielder who has spent his entire career in the National League, save for 60 games played with the Oakland A's in 2009. He is a career .247/.302/.449 hitter with 10-15 home run power who has been largely used as a platoon outfielder in the past couple seasons. He strikes out a fair amount -- 21.1% K rate for his career -- and doesn't walk a ton, but tends to get the job done over the course of a season.
Why should we care?
Because he destroys left-handed pitching. Over the course of his career, Hairston is a .276/.325/.500 hitter against southpaws, and hit .286/.317/.550 against them last season. While a career OPS of .825 against lefties isn't exactly Miguel Cabrera territory, it isn't anything to sneeze at either, especially for a guy who made just over $1 million last season.
Additionally, from what I can tell, Hairston's glove is not a brick. This is better than many of the other right-handed corner outfielder options out on the market right now. Defensive metrics? You can check them out yourself, but they have been less favorable over the past couple seasons. They're still miles better than Brennan Boesch or Delmon Young though. Oh, and he has played second base in the past.
Why should we stay away?
There's really not much of a reason to not go after Hairston, other than a possibly inflated price due to the multitude of teams interested in his services. He's not going to command a monster deal and teams pretty much know what they're getting with him at this point in his career. As for the roster spot he takes? Avisail Garcia needs more time in the minors, Quintin Berry is largely expendable, and... well, make up your own theories about Brennan Boesch. The only real downside is how often Jim Leyland will be tempted to play him against right-handed pitching. He is a career .229/.288/.416 hitter against righties, which is still as good as Berry was against righties last year.
Will he end up in Detroit?
It doesn't look like it. Unless the Tigers come out of nowhere, my guess is that Hairston will move across town to join the New York Yankees next season. The Boston Red Sox and other teams are also interested in Hairston's services. Overall, it seems like there is too much interest in other places for the Tigers' liking.