According to our good friend Ken Rosenthal, Toronto 1B/3B/RF/DH Eric Hinske has cleared waivers and the Red Sox are discussing a trade. Rosenthal mentions that Hinske was pulled from the lineup tonight.
Moving Hinske and his contract makes good sense given the emergence of outfielder/DH Adam Lind. Hinske, who turned 29 this month, will make $5.626MM next year to finish his contract. Hinske has declined over the years since winning the ROY in 2002 by hitting .279/.365/.481 and playing third base. This season, he’s learned how to play right field and has a career high .513 SLG.
As a rookie, Hinske’s numbers were boosted by limited exposure to southpaws. He faced them in about 22% of his plate appearances that year. In 2003-04, the Jays set him loose to face lefties in about 29% of his PAs. He did terribly. He didn’t really do much against righties either during those seasons either. This year and last, they’ve cut him back to face lefties less than 20% of his PAs. Maybe just the prospect of facing southpaws on a regular basis frightens Hinske into performing poorly against all pitchers.
He wouldn’t have that problem in Boston, where he’d form a formidable platoon with Wily Mo Pena. It’d be a fine move by Theo Epstein for this year and ’07, though there are some decent short term options for rightfielders this winter.
UPDATE: According to Gordon Edes, the deal is done pending commissioner approval.