Mets hold on to Hairston as Deadline passes

Mets hold on to Hairston as Deadline passes

Mets hold on to Hairston as Deadline passes
SAN FRANCISCO -- It speaks to the volatility of the last month that on a conference call to discuss his inaction at Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson expected to explain why the Mets did not acquire a reliever. Instead, he was peppered with questions of why the Mets did not trade away outfielder Scott Hairston.

"We were not going to move players simply to move them," Alderson said. "We were not looking for some small, incremental improvement in the overall player development situation. If we were going to get a quality player, then we would strongly consider doing something as a 'seller.' But absent a strong effort by another club, we weren't going to simply make a move just to make a move."

Though teams including the Tigers, Giants, Braves and Rangers were all searching for a right-handed bat, Alderson indicated that no club was willing to give up even a top-30 organizational prospect for Hairston, a pending free agent who is hitting .307 with nine home runs and a .606 slugging percentage in 127 at-bats against lefties.

As a result, Hairston was back in the visiting clubhouse Tuesday at AT&T Park, playing left field.

"I admit I didn't sleep as good as I thought I would last night," Hairston said. "I kept staring at the clock. But I'm just excited I'm still here."

In the weeks prior to Tuesday's Deadline, with a Wild Card berth still within their grasp, the Mets initially considered acquiring a reliever to bolster their 30th-ranked bullpen. But 13 losses in their first 15 games after the All-Star break made that plan less appealing.

The Mets were left with only one legitimate Trade Deadline option: to trade Hairston, their most useful free-agent-to-be. But without any real need to shed payroll, Alderson placed more value on winning as many games as possible in 2012 than on acquiring a marginal prospect for one of his most productive bench bats.

"I'm not sure we ever totally changed course," Alderson said. "If you go back and review the chronology of the last month, you realize that things changed pretty rapidly from just before the All-Star break and certainly right after the All-Star break, until just the last four or five days. So in terms of being aggressively buying for 2012, certainly things changed during that period of time -- and very swiftly."

As for Hairston, the Mets have yet to explore a contract extension beyond 2012, even if both sides appear amenable to it.

"If Sandy would like to talk to me and my agent about that, I'm really open to that," said Hairston, who signed a one-year, $1.1-million deal prior to this season. "But I'm sure all of that is going to take care of itself. My job is to go out and play."