This news from Joel Sherman’s Twitter feed. The Yankees just acquired Eric Hinske from the Pirates for two minor leaguers who were termed by Sherman as being not “significant.” Hinske is a versatile 31 year-old who can put in time at 1b, 3b and OF. Hinske’s current line sits at .255, .373, .368 which is pretty close to his career averages (a little higher slugging and lower OBP is the norm for him). He’s a nice, versatile bench player to have on your roster.
With the addition of Hinske, the recent signing of the independent league all-star 3b, and the recent rest A-Rod has been given, you have to wonder if Cashman is a little nervous about A-Rod’s health, and is trying to find options for giving him time off. Sox’ 3b, Mike Lowell is still having trouble with his hip after a full year, and A-Rod had the same procedure only a few months ago. I wonder if all these things are connected. Looking at Lowell (an admittedly older, more injury-prone player than A-Rod), the Yankees may be well advised to get Alex as much rest as they possibly can.
Moshe’s Update: The Yankees gave up Casey Erickson and Eric Fryer, two fringe prospects that are unlikely to be missed. Hinske can play all of the corner infield and outfield positions, and is currently playing right in Pittsburgh. Ramiro Pena is likely to be sent down to make room for Hinske, who has had an OPS+ of 100 or more in each of the last 4 years. I’m not sure who he is going to take at-bats from, although he may just be used to give A-Rod a day off a bit more frequently. Sherman also reports
that the Yankees want Pena to play some outfield in the minors, as they hope to turn him into a super-sub type. Two other important points from Sherman are:
1.Hinske has just one homer this season, but as a lefty playing in the new Yankee Stadium that should help him rediscover some of his power. But the Yanks remain a team that believes in working opposing pitchers and Hinske sees an outstanding 4.05 pitches per plate appearance even now and averages 3.95 for his career.
2. When reached in his office, Brian Cashman said, “This gives Joe (Girardi) more options off his bench. When Joe has to rest Alex Rodriguez, he now has another strong option to turn to. Even if we need to rest someone in the corner outfield, this makes it a little easier.”
Hinske was brought here to be a bench bat. He is not taking at-bats from the current corner outfielders, nor should he.
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