A's swipe Hairston from Padres

From where Dave Cameron sits, the A's just stole a player from the Padres ...

    When I heard that the Padres had traded Scott Hairston for Craig Italiano, Ryan Webb, and a PTBNL, my first reaction was to wonder if they were trying to tank as quickly as possible to give themselves a shot at drafting Bryce Harper. There weren't too many other explanations that made much sense, given that Hairston was one of only two guys on the Padres roster hitting his weight and that he made a total of $1.25 million this year while not being eligible for free agency until after 2011.
    After a night to think it over and do some more research on the deal, I don't have many more answers than I did last night. I still don't get it.


    Call me crazy, but I think low cost, above average major league players should command more than a potential back-end starter and a pair of bullpen arms. It's hard for me to fathom how the Padres could back away from really good deals for Jake Peavy over the winter, but then begin to sell off useful pieces like Hairston for spare parts.

    From the A's perspective, this is a no-brainer deal. Hairston will replace the soon-to-be-traded Matt Holliday in the line-up, giving them a right-handed outfield bat that they lacked going forward, and they gave up no real parts of their future to acquire a guy who can fit into their near-term core.

    Easy win for Oakland here. Can't say I'm a fan of whatever plan San Diego is putting in place.

My only problem with Hairston is that he's 29 and has a .313 career on-base percentage. Yes, this season it's .358 ... but last season it was .312 in significantly more plate appearances than he's got this season (so far). My only concern is that Hairston's been (roughly) a National League-average hitter, which means he'll be a less than American League-average hitter.
Of course, he is cheap and he does play well in the outfield, so he's still worth a roster spot for sure. Oh, one more concern: the A's have three young outfielders who have failed miserably to this point, but still deserve chances to play and probably need them because the A's need some great players (at the moment they don't have even one). In the long run, who loses playing time to Hairston? Ryan Sweeney? Travis Buck? Aaron Cunningham?

Perhaps none of them. Ken Rosenthal says the A's aren't going to flip Hairston. I'm not so sure. They could trade him soon, when his value's at its highest. Or they could trade him a year from now, when he's got a .298 on-base percentage and suddenly their young outfielders are looking pretty good by comparison. But I don't see Hairston in the lineup when the A's get back into the playoffs.