Nationals Baseball: Coffey and Hairston

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coffey and Hairston

The Nats have brought in Todd Coffey and Jerry Hairston (Jr. lest you think the Nats signed some 60 year old for promotional reasons. Is Minnie Minoso still alive? Yes, yes he is.)

Since the comparison is being drawn, I feel necessary to note that Todd Coffey is NOT Matt Capps. Capps was a young reliever who had one bad year and several good ones. (the Nats were able to snatch him up because the bad one was his last one). Todd Coffey is an older reliever who has had one good year and several blah ones. Todd Coffey won't bring in Wilson Ramos (in fact Matt Capps shouldn't have brought in Wilson Ramos, so again - good job Rizzo). He's the guy you bring in in a scenario where you need a strikeout but don't mind a walk. Could he be the closer or the set up guy? Sure, I guess. But I think we all hope the Nats view closer as Drew Storen's job to lose, and Sean Burnett has earned the set up role.

Normally I don't like signings like the one for JHJ. He's done as a major league hitter. He doesn't walk or hit for power or hit for average. You don't want those guys playing a lot. However Hairston's positional experience is a benefit for the Nats. JHJ can play infield or outfield, he can run pretty well (though I wouldn't have him steal) and he can lay down a bunt. He can in essence fill 3 different roles in the modern bench - utility infielder, 5th outfielder, and pinch runner/bunter. It's often that the 3rd one overlaps with one of the other two roles, but to have all three overlap gives the Nats extra flexibilty. Hopefully the Nats use this advantage to keep an extra good bat on the bench (though I fear it'll just let them keep 3 catchers in the majors, though if that means Ramos and Flores I guess that's a good bat).


Anonymous said...

Out of context, "You don't want those guys playing a lot" is either the biggest understatement of the young year, the worst thing you can say about a player, or both. Especially after a sentence like "He doesn't walk or hit for power or hit for average."

Hoo said...

Where you say Jerry Jr, I see the word's Willy Tavares minus the infield presence. Not fun times.

Killertestudo said...

Actually, I think based off the description, I could easily fill JHJ's role. I haven't played organized baseball since I was fourteen, and I guarantee I can run but not steal, and also not hit for power or average, and definitely strike out a bunch.

DezoPenguin said...

Actually, looking at Hairston's line, as far as I can tell he's Willie Harris, with a little less pop in his bat and a lot fewer strikeouts translating into a slightly better batting average and OPS (though not OBP, since Harris walks and Hairston doesn't). So that's not bad, so long as management never, ever, thinks of him as an everyday player.

...except maybe in CF if Morgan craps out again.

Harper said...

All - How about this - JHJ hits for just enough average so that you don't feel bad keeping him around as an emergency fill-in. Any young player with skills would be better served playing everyday, any not young player who's better than this is probably be angling for a starting job somewhere.

Hoo - I don't THINK the Nats see JHJ as the spot starter, possibly more that they deluded themselves into thinking Taveras was. Plus Hariston is not a good hitter, but Willy was special bad.

Killer - I never said he struck out a bunch!

Dezo - Willie looked like he was dropping off that "my career is over" cliff last year. Plus I never liked Willie the infielder.

Anonymous said...

I think JHJ is an upgrade over Willie Harris (who couldn't even find the Mendoza line last year). I agree that Todd Coffey is no Matt Capps, but does add some depth to the relief core and that is rarely a bad thing.

mockcarr said...

I'd hope that if last year's Morgan is what he now is, Bernadina would get first crack at center, perhaps moving Werth over to play against tough lefties. Hell, even Ankiel out there would probably be better than JHJ.

Harper said...

anon - exactly, these are fine back of the bullpen last man on the bench moves.

mockcarr - if JHJ is ever a starter there better be some sort of flu epidemic going around