After weighing his options for most of the offseason, Scott Hairston is close to making a decision on where he’ll play in 2013. And chances are he’s not going far.
According to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, it appears that the Mets and Yankees are the finalists for Hairston’s services. Casey Close, the outfielder’s agent, says that he continues to talk with both teams that his client should make a decision in a “matter of days.”
“I think he’s a good fit for either team,” Close said. “But there are different roles at each place and Scott is deciding which is the best option for him.”
The Mets are severely lacking in quality options for their outfield, so Hairston would play nearly everyday if he stays in Queens, but he’d likely be used primarily against southpaws with the Yankees. While he has been looking for a multi-year deal this offseason, the Yankees may be reluctant to go there as they attempt to keep their payroll under $189 million for 2014.
Hairston has spent the past two seasons with the Mets and socked a career-high 20 home runs last season. The 32-year-old outfielder has a .751 career OPS, including an .825 OPS against left-handed pitching.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.