According to FOXSports' Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are set to add to their outfield depth:
Sources: Cubs in agreement on two-year deal with free-agent outfielder Scott Hairston, pending physical. Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 24, 2013
This doesn't come as a surprise, as Patrick Mooney discussed the possibility earlier this week.
Hairston turns 33 in late May and enjoyed the best season of his career last year with the Mets, when he hit 20 homers with a .803 OPS in 377 at-bats. He sported an .867 OPS against left-handed pitching last season and sits at .825 against southpaws for his career.
The signing adds another outfielder to the mix for the Cubs, who already have veteran Alfonso Soriano and lefties David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz. Hairston could platoon with Schierholtz in right field and could even spell DeJesus against lefties.
The former third-round pick of the Diamondbacks has proven capable of playing all three outfield spots over his nine-year MLB career, even registering 149 games in center field.
Hairston and his family are very familiar with Chicago, as he spent a couple years in the suburbs while his brother, Jerry Jr. -- who played for the Cubs in 2005-06 -- graduated from Naperville North High School. Hairston's grandfather and father both played for the White Sox.
The veteran was reportedly searching for a two-year deal worth as much as 8 million.
LOS ANGELES – The Cubs drafted and developed Ian Happ with the idea of turning him into a Ben Zobrist-type player who would move quickly through the farm system and surface as a versatile big-league contributor and/or legitimate trade chip.
With Zobrist sidelined because of a sore left wrist, the Cubs got their first look at Happ playing second base in The Show during Saturday’s 5-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. That kind of depth – plugging in a 2015 first-round pick while a World Series MVP rests – should ultimately propel the Cubs over the course of a 162-game season.
Even as the Cubs stutter-step through a 25-23 start, there are enough choices for the best defensive second baseman on the team and a National League Championship Series co-MVP (Javier Baez) to sit on the bench.
“We know that the talent’s there,” Zobrist said. “It’s not like having any one or two guys out of the lineup is a big drop-off for us because of the talent that’s there. And we know that just because we have a lot of young players doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely capable of doing the job as well.”
Zobrist – who’s reached base in 23 straight games and emerged as a new leadoff option with Kyle Schwarber struggling – felt something on an awkward swing in the first inning of Friday’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers. Zobrist played through it that night and called it a “day-to-day thing” that didn’t require an MRI.
[MORE: Is Joe Maddon turning Kyle Schwarber into a platoon player?]
Facing Clayton Kershaw on Sunday after back-to-back shutouts will be a game-time decision.
“It’s tough,” Zobrist said. “We just haven’t strung together enough quality at-bats to score runs the last two games. It’s not just because of us. They’ve pitched well. Their pitchers are pretty hot right now. They’ve spotted up. They’ve gotten early strikes where they needed to and then gone to work pretty well on us.
“The task doesn’t get any easier tomorrow with Kershaw. We just got to keep trying to chip away.”
The Cubs take on the Los Angeles Dodgers today, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.
Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Ryan Dempster. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.
Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jon Lester (3-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.01 ERA)
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