Happened to see that the Texas Rangers designated ex-O Jerry Hairston Jr. for assignment today to make room on their forty-man roster.
The Orioles' long recent stretch of futility has made it seem as if every personnel decision they have made has been wrong; whether it be a prospect or veteran, when they keep him he falls apart, when they let him go he blossoms. That's of course an exaggeration born of pessimism, but it's not far off. It's hard to be a losing team for nine straight seasons without making a lot of bad decisions.
But Hairston? He's one of the few symbols of good (or lucky) decisionmaking by the Orioles. Hairston, of course, was one-half of the two second base prospects the Orioles had a few years ago, Brian Roberts being the other one. Hairston got a cup of coffee in 1998, played part time through the Delino DeShields "era," and became a regular in 2001, the same year Roberts appeared on the scene.
And for four years, the Orioles couldn't make a decision. Finally they did last year, and they chose Roberts. And a good decision it was: Hairston was a part time player for the Cubs last year, was dumped early this year on the Rangers, and has now been shown the door after batting .206 for the season; his career is in serious jeopardy. Meanwhile, Roberts was an all-star and MVP candidate in 2005, and recovered from a horrific season-ending injury in 2005 to have a solid 2006. (Plus, he's bluish! (No relation to recently-acquired Adam Stern, who's Jewish.))
(The Orioles being the Orioles, and me being me, I can't let the above moment of praise pass without noting the caveat that if the Orioles had made a decision a year or two sooner on Hairston, they wouldn't have had to play this second baseman in the outfield and they might have been able to get more for him than the washed-up remains of Sammy Sosa's career. But that's water under the bridge; the important point is that they did make the right choice in keeping Brian Roberts.)