07/31/09 8:25 PM ET
Yankees acquire Hairston from Reds
Speedy veteran gives New York with depth at seven positions
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
That swap for Minor League catcher Chase Weems was the club's only movement on a frenzied afternoon of dealing around the big leagues. It is also a clear indication that the first-place Yankees are more than satisfied to keep moving forward with what they have.
"I'm happy with the effort made and feel real good about this club," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "You always want to try and make it better if possible, but unfortunately we just never found anything that made that possible, other than the move we made."
Hairston, 33, will help to upgrade New York's versatility off the bench, having played six positions this year for the Reds, including all three outfield spots. He was batting .254 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs.
"I'm excited to go to New York," Hairston said. "Whatever they ask me to do, I'll do it. I did the same job here in Cincinnati, playing center, short, second. From what I hear, New York has a pretty good shortstop [in Derek Jeter]. Whatever they need me to do, I'll do the best job I can."
The Yankees headed into Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline seeking starting pitching, and while they never got heavily involved in discussions with the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay, New York was linked to talks with the Mariners regarding Jarrod Washburn.
But the price Seattle had wanted for Washburn -- reportedly bringing up the names of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Jesus Montero to anchor packages -- made such a move prohibitive. Washburn eventually wound up being traded to the Tigers, meaning the Yankees may wind up facing him there.
"That would mean we're both in the playoffs and I think both teams would be very happy with that scenario," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Speaking in general terms, Cashman said that the Yankees were never close to making a move other than acquiring Hairston, who has played parts of 12 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Orioles (1998-2004), Cubs (2005-06), Rangers (2006-07) and Reds (2008-09).
"We were pretty far off on everything we were looking for," Cashman said said. "I certainly pursued a lot of pitching opportunities, as well as other opportunities."
The Yankees added Hairston to their bench in exchange for Weems, 20, the Yankees' sixth-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He was batting .260 (45-for-173) with one home run and 14 RBIs in 55 games for Class A Charleston this season.
A career .259 hitter, Hairston is expected to help spell both New York's infielders and outfielders, and Girardi said that the only position he would not consider using Hairston at is catcher.
"He's a super-utility guy who can play all infield positions and all outfield positions," Cashman said. "He's a guy that's going to give Joe a great deal of flexibility. He's going to give us a lot of choices as we go forward and deal with aches and pains."
Girardi noted that Hairston would split time with Cody Ransom -- an indication that the club may send Shelley Duncan right back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when Hairston joins the Yankees on Saturday in Chicago.
"He will get some of them, but Cody is still going to get some of them too," Girardi said. "If we go with an all right-handed lineup, you can DH Alex, you can put Cody at third and Jerry in left. You can do a lot of different things because of that. That's what we like."
Just because Friday passed without a major move from the Yankees does not necessarily mean Cashman will not be active before the next deadline, Aug. 31, when players must be on the Major League roster to be eligible for postseason play.
Deals involving players on the 40-man roster can be made if the players clear waivers, offered to the other teams in reverse order of standings. Girardi said that he believes there will be some of those swaps in the future.
"That's something that we'll continue to deal with," Girardi said. "I know today is the Trade Deadline, but I don't think moves are done. I think you'll see a lot of moves in August. Brian will continue to try and address the depth question. For me, I've got to worry about the guys that are here."
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira played with Hairston as members of the Rangers in 2006 and 2007, calling him a "great guy" and lauding his versatility, ability to put together good at-bats and steal bases.
Teixeira said that after the Yankees spent a combined $423.5 million to bring him in with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett over the winter, a flashy July 31 deal was not a necessity for the club, nor had it been expected.
"I said from the very beginning of the season, we have everything we need to win here," Teixeira said. "I think we're showing that. When we play our best baseball, we're going to win. We just have to keep working hard and play well the next two months."
Told of Teixeira's thoughts, Cashman agreed that the trio of offseason moves -- plus a November deal for Nick Swisher -- have been huge imports, blending in well with the existing core already in place. But he also said that his job will be to continue to search for ways to make it better.
"So far, it's gone real well," Cashman said. "But again, you're always looking to attack areas of weakness. There's always storm clouds on the horizon and you want to make sure you have as many sunny days as you can."