7/8 More on Hairston deal to Nats
It wasn’t that Scott Hairston wasn’t doing enough for the Cubs. The Nationals need him more. The Cubs dealt Hairston to the Nationals for a Minor League pitcher, Ivan Pineyro, who was pitching at High A Potomac. Hairston, 33, had been part of a platoon in right field but has gotten limited playing time. GM Jed Hoyer said Monday that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called, seeking to solidify their bench with another right-handed bat.
“[Hairston] is a real pro, and as far as bench guys who can hit lefties, he can hit a homer against a lefty as good as any bench bat in baseball,” Hoyer said. “Given the makeup of who we’ve been playing and the pitching makeup in our division, he hasn’t been playing as much as we’d hoped, and I think this is a good opprotunity for Scott and the Nationals to get more playing time. It was a good opportunity for us to get a young pitcher we liked.”
Hairston was batting .172 overall, and .179 against left-handers, and eight of his 14 hits off lefties have been home runs.
Pineyro, in his third Minor League season, began the year with Class A Hagerstown, going 5-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 13 starts. The 21-year-old right-hander was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team before he was promoted to Hagerstown. He will join the Cubs’ Class A Daytona team.
The Cubs have been busy in the last week, dealing Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol, Steve Clevenger and now Hairston. More deals are expected leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline. Matt Garza, who has been rumored to be dealt since Spring Training, was scheduled to start Monday against the White Sox.
Last year, the Cubs traded Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker. Could free agents be hesitant to sign with the Cubs? Hoyer said no.
“Looking at Scott Feldman’s situation, we gave him a great opportunity,” Hoyer said. “A lot of places weren’t willing to guarantee him a rotation spot coming off a so-so year in Texas. We were wiling to do that, and I think he appreciated that. With Scott [Hairston], he looks at this as an opportunity to get more playing time. I think everything is taken on an individual basis.
“I would hope that we cease being sellers on an annual basis,” Hoyer said. “We want to be buyers. We need to acquire a lot of talent and build that wave that can come up here and give us that sustained success, and with that we hope we can move in the other direction and be buyers and not sellers.”
What about Garza? The right-hander has given up two earned runs over 30 innings in his last four starts.
“He’s been a popular name and a guy we’ve gotten a lot of phone calls on,” Hoyer said. “I think he’s opened a lot of eyes the way he’s thrown the last four, five times out.”
Because the Cubs bullpen has been overworked the last few games, they will promote left-hander Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa, and not add another outfielder.
“Our bullpen is pretty taxed right now with [Carlos] Villanueva still getting stretched back out,” Hoyer said. “We don’t want to push those guys too hard. We would like to add another right-handed bat. We’ll explore and discuss those options over the next couple days until our bullpen is rested.”
Raley was 6-6 in 16 starts at Iowa, posting a 5.08 ERA as a starter. He did make one relief appearance on May 16, and gave up two hits and one walk over three innings.
* Who else could the Cubs call up? Brett Jackson would be among the candidates at Iowa if he was healthy but he was on the disabled list with a right calf strain.
“I think we all have high expectations for Brett,” Hoyer said. “We’d love nothing more than to be able to give him playing time later in the year. He’s got to get out there and play and earn it, but he’s still a guy we’re very high on.”
Both Junior Lake and Logan Watkins have played well at Iowa, but Hoyer said they both need more at-bats in the Minors.
“They’ve both played well and both got our attention with how they’ve played and been part of the discussions,” Hoyer said. “I think both of those guys have development left. It’s nice to see them performing well at Triple-A. That bodes well for our future.”
– Carrie Muskat