Oct. 3, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Scott Hairston (12) at bat against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. The Mets won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees News & Notes: Hairston signs with Cubs, No interest in Kottaras

The offseason of futility continues for the New York Yankees as two potential targets will not be coming to the Bronx in 2013. Many believed, and our own Benjamin Orr opined too, that Scott Hairston would be a Yankee for the upcoming season in order to compete for the right-handed DH/fourth outfielder spot. He didn’t even stay in New York — the Mets were believed to be in on his services as well — and instead signed with the Chicago Cubs. Hairston and his agents said last week that he’d make a decision within the week. They led on that only the Mets and Yankees were in on him, but in a completely Theo Epstein move, the Cubs snatched him up from underneath both of them, according to Ken Rosenthal.

The 32-year-old outfielder was slated to give the Yankees some versatility in the outfielder as well as compete for the starting DH spot against lefties. Instead, the Yankees will presumably roll into the season with Matt Diaz and Russ Canzler duking it out for the DH spot.

Hairston (smartly) wanted a multi-year deal after hitting .263/.299/.504 (118 wRC+) in 2012. He was even better against lefties (.286/.317/.550 & 135 wRC+), which is the exact reason he was on the Yankees radar to begin with. However, the Yankees wanted to sign him for only one-year and therein lies the reason he’s in Chicago, receiving $6 million over two years with incentives sprinkled in.

I’m going to venture a guess and say he didn’t throw this guy out. I have an 81% chance of being right, sadly. (Image: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

In other news, the Oakland Athletics recently designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment, which prompted many to say the Yankees should bring him in. The catching situation is a bit underwhelming at the moment with Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli likely to the be the #1 and #2 to start the season. However, according to Chad Jennings of LoHud.com, The Yankees show zero interest in Kottaras.

The 29-year-old lefty hitting catcher batted .211/.351/.415 (114 wRC+) last year with the A’s. That might not look all that great at the surface, but if we dig a little bit, we find a jewel, which comes in the form a 17.7% BB% (!!!). The guy certainly has an uncanny eye at the dish and averages a 13% walk rate over his career. His defense is nothing to write home about (-4 Defensive runs saved in 2012) and he only caught 19% of would-be basestealers. Kottaras is strictly an offense-first catcher and would have been a great addition to complement defensive-minded Chris Stewart and fist-pumpin’ extraordinaire Francisco Cervelli.

Stats courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference

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Tags: George Kottaras New York Yankees Scott Hairston

  • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

    A 114 wRC+ doesn’t look great on the surface?? That’s fantastic for a catcher! I’m honestly very confused about why there’s no interest there. I think Kottaras would be a perfect fit for the Yankees.

    • Jimmy Kraft

      You know most people are going to look at that slash line and think, “What? Why is everyone clamoring for him?” Most of his value comes from his ability to draw walks, if that skill wasn’t what it is, he’d be a minor league catcher.

      • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

        Yeah, people still seem to be overrating batting average and underrating walks, as evidenced by the excitement over Ichiro and Nunez. But the Yankees surely understand the value of walks, so I’m confused about why they’re not going for him.

  • Marie

    Kottaras gets a lot of his bad defense rep from all his passed balls from being knuckleballer tim wakefields personal catcher back in Boston but he is pretty smart behind the plate. He has a lot of pop in his bat, is very clutch, and has a great eye at the plate. Last year he had 31 RBIS in 36 hits (9HRs) in only 171 ABs so he packs a lot of production in his low BA. His fault is that he shies away from the spotlight and is very offensively unproductive in games where the team has a decent lead and doesn’t need him to produce. He handles pitchers well and is a very great team-first player.

    • Jimmy Kraft

      That is some very good insight. I obviously didn’t follow his career much while he was a Red Sox, but I can imagine a knuckleballer will make any catcher’s defensive stats look awful.

      • Marie

        As a note.. Wakefields winningest career season was with kottaras behind the plate..
        His arm is actually alright, but he’s the kind of catcher who is so NOT into statistics and is so game-first minded that it hurts him. In a 2 outs situation where the pitcher is ahead in the count he will let the runner on first go and focus his pitcher on getting that last out.. He has a very calming presence behind the plate and brings out the best in his pitchers and teammates.