7/8/2013 1:03 P.M. ET
Cubs deal Hairston to Nats for Minor Leaguer
Chicago receives right-hander Pineyro in exchange for veteran bench bat
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- It wasn't that Scott Hairston wasn't doing enough for the Cubs. The Nationals just needed him more.
On Monday, the Cubs dealt the outfielder to the Nats for right-hander Ivan Pineyro, who was pitching at Class A Advanced Potomac.
Hairston, 33, who signed a two-year, $5 million deal in the offseason, has been part of a platoon in right field but has gotten limited playing time. He did not have a single at-bat on the Cubs' just-completed nine-game road trip. On Friday, he hit a two-run homer off Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano, and on Sunday, he delivered a pinch-hit home run off southpaw Tony Watson.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called, seeking to solidify his club's bench with another right-handed bat.
"[Hairston] is a real pro, and as far as bench guys who can hit lefties, he can hit a homer against a lefty as good as any bench bat in baseball," Hoyer said. "Given the makeup of who we've been playing and the pitching makeup in our division, he hasn't been playing as much as we'd hoped, and I think this is a good opportunity for Scott -- and the Nationals -- to get more playing time. It was a good opportunity for us to get a young pitcher we liked."
Hairston was batting .172 overall, and .179 against left-handers, and eight of his 14 hits off lefties had been home runs.
Pineyro, in his third Minor League season, began the year with Class A Hagerstown, going 5-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 13 starts.
The 21-year-old right-hander was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team before he was promoted to Hagerstown. He will join the Cubs' Class A Daytona team.
"He's a young arm we're excited to get and add to our system," Hoyer said.
The Cubs have been busy in the last week, dealing Scott Feldman, Carlos Marmol, Steve Clevenger and now Hairston. More deals are expected leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31. Matt Garza, who has been rumored to be dealt since Spring Training, was scheduled to start Monday against the White Sox.
|Signed at the start of the international signing period in July 2010 for just $16,000, Pineyro made his United States debut in 2012, though it was shortened due to a broken jaw that came as a result of a line drive during extended Spring Training. He came back that summer and made his full season debut in 2013, earning a promotion up a level after 13 starts in the South Atlantic League (5-3, 3.14 ERA at the time of his promotion).|
Pineyro has the makings of a good three-pitch mix. He'll throw his fastball in the 87-92-mph range. He has a very good feel for his changeup, which could be an above-average pitch for him in the future. While his curve is a bit behind the changeup, there is good shape to it, and it should continue to develop. Pineyro has become a solid strike-thrower as well, giving him the chance to be a starting pitcher at the big-league level in the future.
|-- Jonathan Mayo|
Last year, the Cubs traded Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker. Could free agents be hesitant to sign with the Cubs in light of their many recent trades? Hoyer said no.
"Looking at Scott Feldman's situation, we gave him a great opportunity," Hoyer said. "A lot of places weren't willing to guarantee him a rotation spot coming off a so-so year in Texas. We were willing to do that, and I think he appreciated that. With Scott [Hairston], he looks at this as an opportunity to get more playing time. I think everything is taken on an individual basis.
"I would hope that we cease being sellers on an annual basis," Hoyer said. "We want to be buyers. We need to acquire a lot of talent and build that wave that can come up here and give us that sustained success. And with that, we hope we can move in the other direction and be buyers and not sellers."
What about Garza? The right-hander has given up two earned runs over 30 innings in his last four starts.
"He's been a popular name and a guy we've gotten a lot of phone calls on," Hoyer said. "I think he's opened a lot of eyes the way he's thrown the last four, five times out."
Because the Cubs' bullpen has been overworked the last few games, they will promote left-hander Brooks Raley from Triple-A Iowa, as opposed to adding another outfielder.
"Our bullpen is pretty taxed right now with [Carlos] Villanueva still getting stretched back out," Hoyer said. "We don't want to push those guys too hard. We would like to add another right-handed bat. We'll explore and discuss those options over the next couple days until our bullpen is rested."
Raley was 6-6 in 16 starts with Iowa, posting a 5.08 ERA as a starter. He did make one relief appearance on May 16, giving up two hits and one walk over three innings.
Brett Jackson would be among the candidates at Iowa if he was healthy, but he is on the disabled list with a right calf strain.
"I think we all have high expectations for Brett," Hoyer said. "We'd love nothing more than to be able to give him playing time later in the year. He's got to get out there and play and earn it, but he's still a guy we're very high on."
Both Junior Lake and Logan Watkins have played well at Iowa, but Hoyer said they both need more at-bats in the Minors.
"They've both played well and both got our attention with how they've played and been part of the discussions," Hoyer said. "I think both of those guys have development left. It's nice to see them performing well at Triple-A. That bodes well for our future."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.