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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Rumor Mill: Mets in Dogfight with Yanks for Hairston's Services?

ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews spoke to Hairston's agent Casey Close and was told that Hairston is in ongoing talks with the Yankees and Mets. Close told Matthews that his client will likely make a decision in "a matter of days."

The Yankees are pessimistic about signing Hairston, Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The outfielder could get more playing time elsewhere.

Hairston would likely have to settle for a fourth outfielder's role with the Yankees, in which he'd back up Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner while providing manager Joe Girardi with a lethal weapon against left-handed pitching off the bench.

The 32-year-old batted .286/.317/.550 against southpaws in 2012 and boasts a career line of .276/.325/.500 against opposite-handed pitching.

The Mets, on the other hand, could use Hairston every day, but don't offer the same hope of reaching the postseason in 2013 having finished 74-88 in 2012 and traded away Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.

General manager Sandy Alderson told Matthews' colleague Adam Rubin that the team might not make another outfield addition, but did concede that Hairston is one of the remaining "meaningful" free agents the team will consider signing. A trade for an outfielder is unlikely, according to the GM.

Hairston is known to be seeking a multiyear deal, which could pose a problem for the Yankees, as Matthews points out. The team has shied away from multiyear commitments all offseason as they look to get under the $189MM luxury tax threshold by 2014.

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