2012 Dodgers in Review #15: 3B/UT Jerry Hairston

.273/.342/.387 267pa 4hr 1.5 fWAR B

2012 in brief: Well-traveled veteran filled in capably at second, third, and left field despite missing time with a hamstring injury and requiring season-ending surgery on his hip in August.

2013 status: Signed for $3.75m in final year of two-year contract.

******

I’m really not sure that I’m happier with my initial take on any of the newly acquired Dodgers than I am with the way I saw Jerry Hairston:

Taken on its own merits, I don’t have a big issue with this signing. Hairston’s a useful enough piece, one who adds flexibility to a bench with his ability to play six positions with varying degrees of success, and on a team with so many questions in the infield, that flexibility will likely come in handy. His offensive performance has been all over the place – OBP of .384 in 2008 and .344 in 2011, but also .315 in 2009 and .299 in 2010 – but that’s generally to be expected from a bench piece, since you’re not acquiring him to be a starter. He’s being paid to generate about 1.5 WAR over the life of the contract, and since he put up 1.2 fWAR last year and 1.5 in 2010, it seems like he could at least earn the value. I don’t like the second year of the deal, though I admit that it was likely he’d have received that from someone else. (And, not that I care about this type of thing as much as some, he seems really excited to join the Dodgers, at least according to these quotes that SBNation‘s Amy K. Nelson collected.)

Oh, I’m not just talking about the fact that looks pretty accurate now, after the fact. I’m happy because that quickly devolved into another discussion of just what the hell the point of Adam Kennedy was. (A conversation which we revisited again months later.)

Seriously though, Hairston proved to be a valuable piece as he got off to a great start, just like the rest of the team. (Though not like umpire Tim Welke, who called Hairston out on May 2 in Colorado on what may be the worst call in the history of sports.) After a three-hit game in Chicago on May 4, Hairston was hitting .327/.421/.490 (albeit in just 58 plate appearances), having made starts at second, third, and left. Two days later, the headline picture on this site was of Hairston being helped into the dugout at Wrigley Field after injuring his hamstring trying to beat out an infield hit. Which, of course he was.

Hairston missed nearly three weeks and then returned as the team’s primary third baseman, collecting nine hits in his first four games (three starts) back. As May turned into June, Hairston shifted to second with Mark Ellis down, making each of his 22 starts in May at the keystone, and continued hitting well, topped by a massive game on June 9 in Seattle:

So, anything stand out here?


Jerry Hairston
 had himself something of a day, driving in five of the first six Dodger runs and scoring the other. The five runs batted in were not only a career high, they were the most by any Dodger since Matt Kemp also drove in five last July against Arizona.

Unfortunately for Hairston, it was all downhill from there. In 116 plate appearances up to and including that Seattle game, he had a line of .366/.435/.525 (along with a .389 BABIP). Immediately following, he went hitless in his next 26 plate appearances, hitting only .204/.272/.285 over the remaining 151 PA of his season. If he’d flipped those two halves exactly and ended up with the same season totals as he did, I’m guessing that people wouldn’t be quite as positive about his season. As we’ve been over so many times, nice first impressions count for so much more than they should, simply because you see that nice batting average on the screen every single night.

By July, Ellis was back and Hairston was seeing most of his time in left field and at third base, where his defense had become an increasing issue. Pushed exclusively back to third base by the acquisition of Shane Victorino, Hairston played only seven games in August before calling it a season thanks to a serious hip injury which later required surgery, opening the door for Luis Cruz to play every day.

Despite Hairston’s contributions, he played in only 78 games thanks to the multiple injuries, and while he’s expected to be ready for 2013, it’s hard to say that all of this doesn’t sound a little terrifying:

The procedure is arthroscopic, but not minor. His left leg was placed in traction to separate the leg from the hip far enough for arthroscopic tools to enter the joint. The torn labrum was repaired and an irregularity in the head or neck of the femur that caused the impingement was shaved to allow for smooth rotation in the joint. When the ball and socket don’t fit properly, friction tears the labrum.

Hairston also admitted that he’d been feeling pain in the area since May, and while the argument can be made that this is what caused his decreased productivity – I don’t doubt it had an impact – I’d say that when you read quotes like this

“I tried to fight through it and not tell anybody, but my play started to be erratic. It was affecting my throws. I couldn’t plant my legs. My swing, I had no bat speed. At that point I felt I was hurting the team and I couldn’t live with myself hurting the team, not the way I was playing.”

…it’s just infuriating. Every year, you get players trying to be tough and playing through pain, and  all you end up with are worse performances and more serious injuries that may have been avoided. Have we learned nothing?

Looking ahead towards 2013, the Dodgers appear to be thinking of Hairston more as an outfielder, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, though I imagine that might depend more on how the winter shopping shapes the roster than anything. Let’s not forget, this is a thing that happened when Hairston played outfield this season (via Chad Moriyama):

All in all though, a decent enough season from a useful enough player with a contract that didn’t look that bad when it was signed and isn’t a burden now. Assuming the Dodgers can stay healthy enough that Hairston isn’t needed as an everyday player, he’ll be a nice multi-positional piece for 2013.

******

Next up! At least we know who Elian Herrera is now!

181 comments
LA_Woman
LA_Woman

Did the automatic cue not get triggered? I did not expect to see Hairston again this morning.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Watching Walter White generate AC to start an engine without a DC conversion. Im no engineer, but this seems fishy. #physics101

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

Head cold, cough, and runny nose. Better rest tonight, even Dayquil is only so much help.

TaintsnifferMcGillicutty
TaintsnifferMcGillicutty

You guys get ready to dial 9-1-1, years of turmoil just might boil over and i'm gonna battle it out to the death with my brother

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Im getting tweets to vote no on Measure B so I can save porn. k. Threesome: yes HIV testing: no

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

Wait, Guerra had shoulder surgery? huh?

HiiiEVERYBODY!
HiiiEVERYBODY!

Pitchers break, but you still need them: ANIBAL SANCHEZ?

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Love the comments section: "blow heart"

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy Watch some porn, have a smoke, anything that isn't illegal.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Yea they gave him a bionic arm. Think Robocop meets Sandy Koufax.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @Cadtalfryn It seems like Ethier is kind of the forgotten man on this team. He used to be the face of the franchise. Now he's another dude. 

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Cadtalfryn pardon me, but, AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA coughs hard. Now, he may have saved their season, but for $120M over seven years with those results, excepting this year, are why G.M's are sooooooooo skittish on signing pitchers for long, high dollar deals. CC, and Cliff Lee being the gold standard for those deals.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@HiiiEVERYBODY! I HEART THAT AVATAR BTW.

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DINGERS!

@HEEYEVERYONE Hanley knows him. Don't know if he can C him though. I hope Ned doesn't read Yardbarker. Rosenfail is hyping Hellickson OVER Shields and Price. ERA is a REALLY DUMB stat, even if he has that over Price and Shields. Yeah, he's a Boras client. RUN AWAY NED!

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Electromagnetic fields. #shitihadtostudy #wastedbrainspace #iforgettheoxidationrules

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@VietnamDodger with a little bit of Bionic Commando and Inspector Gadget. :D

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

 @IBBFTW  @HEEYEVERYONE I know I'm going against the mold, but I still think ERA is relatively useful. Obviously you need to look at other stuff, but I don't think it's altogether dumb. 

 

Kewldood69
Kewldood69

@VietnamDodger You can buy bongos but you can't buy booty.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@VietnamDodger Pandas got to get their jollys too.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@VietnamDodger We must support our local economy. *cues porn

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Isnt that like 15% or something of Chatsworths local economy?

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

Im gonna quit medicine and go work for Conan n the self pleasuring panda

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DINGERS!

I C what U did thar...I also realize the implications, but Pornography can filmed and uploaded anywhere.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

I guess the industry is just gonna have to get more... anal about the process.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@VietnamDodger Rick James would scoff at such a law, were he still alive. If its not sleazy, what's the point?

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Cadtalfryn DINGERS! DINGERS!

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@Cadtalfryn @The_Fake_Paul His numbers against LHP took a big hit after the pinky injury. Maybe, just maybe, he has a resurgence working with Dingers man. One can dream.