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Eric Hinske Rumors
The Diamondbacks have released veteran Eric Hinske from Triple-A Reno, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. Chris Gabel of the Reno Gazette-Journal reports that the 2002 American League Rookie of the Year is likely to retire (Twitter link).
The 35-year-old Hinske batted .173/.259/.288 and appeared in 52 games for the D-Backs this season, but just three of those contests were starts. He was used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter before being designated for assignment and ultimately accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Reno.
In parts of 12 Major League seasons with the Blue Jays, Braves, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Diamondbacks and Yankees, Hinske batted .249/.332/.430 with 137 home runs. He was originally drafted by the Cubs in the 17th round of the 2002 draft — a round that also produced notable Major Leaguers B.J. Ryan and Ty Wigginton. Hinske earned more than $22MM in his career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
JULY 7: Hinske has cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A, tweets Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com.
The 35-year-old Hinske hit .173/.259/.288 with one homer in 58 plate appearances in his first season with the D-Backs. Hinske signed a one-year, $1.075MM deal with the Snakes back in December. The 2002 American League Rookie of the Year is a career .249/.332/.430 hitter with 137 home runs in parts of 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, Braves, Red Sox, Pirates, Yankees, Rays and D-Backs.
2:16pm: Hinske's deal with Arizona will be worth a little more than $1MM, sources tell Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports believes the deal to be worth $1.075MM.
12:50pm: The Diamondbacks signed first baseman/outfielder Eric Hinske to a one-year contract, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The 35-year-old struggled with the Braves this year, posting a .197/.272/.311 line in 147 plate appearances. He's represented by MVP Sports Group.
Hinske, the 2002 AL Rookie of the Year winner, has served as a solid bench bat at times and owns a .236/.315/.407 line over the last three seasons, facing mostly right-handed pitching.
The Braves chose Hinske's $1.5MM club option over a $100K buyout. The 34-year-old hit .233/.311/.403 in 264 plate appearances this year.
The decision on McLouth was obvious, as the Braves faced a $10.65MM club option and a $1.25MM buyout. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .228/.344/.333 on the season.
Some news from the NL East…
- "Folks seem to think the Nationals are going to make [a] big play for C.J. Wilson," tweets Jon Heyman from Sports Illustrated. Heyman thinks the Nats will offer Wilson a contract worth around $75-80MM. In August, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes thought Wilson could fetch a $100MM deal this winter given the lack of quality starters in the free agent market, but Wilson's postseason struggles will probably prevent him from that nine-figure contract.
- Dealing Domonic Brown or keeping him in the minors in 2012 would be a short-sighted move for the Phillies, argues CSNPhilly.com's Casey Feeney.
- "With supply seemingly exceeding demand" on the free agent closer market this winter, the Mets can look beyond the biggest names (Heath Bell, Francisco Rodriguez, Ryan Madson and Jonathan Papelbon) and still find a solid closer at a reasonable price, writes Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Rubin also says the Mets are looking for another left-handed reliever to pair with Tim Byrdak, as the club worries that Danny Herrera will become less effective as opponents become more familiar with him.
- The Marlins haven't discussed moving Hanley Ramirez away from shortstop or asking Ramirez about a position change, club president David Samson tells MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.
- From that same piece, Samson says the Marlins will be "very active" this winter with their expected rise in payroll. "We're going to be very aggressive, but we're not going to be foolish," Samson said. "That's the key. When you raise your payroll, you've got to do it smartly, because if you don't, you are losing 90 games at a higher payroll."
- The Braves haven't yet decided if they will exercise Eric Hinske and Nate McLouth's 2012 options, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McLouth's $10.65MM option will certainly be bought out for $1.25MM, that's a no-brainer. As for Hinske, he's a useful reserve — he can play first base and both corner outfield spots, and he had a .754 OPS against right-handed pitching last season. Hinske's option is worth just $1.5MM so my guess is Atlanta brings back the former AL Rookie of the Year.
6:22pm: The deal will pay Hinske $1.35MM in 2011. The Braves will then choose between a $1.5MM club option for 2012 and a $100K buyout, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).
4:31pm: Hinske will earn $1.45MM, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
1:42pm: The Braves re-signed utility man Eric Hinske to a one-year deal with an option, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the deal includes lots of plate appearance incentives. Hinske chose between offers from the Braves and his hometown Brewers, apparently not finding the guaranteed two years he sought.
Hinske, 33, hit .256/.338/.456 with 11 home runs in 320 plate appearances this year. He logged innings at left field and first base, and has also played right field and third base in his career. He's a left-handed hitter who has been shielded from southpaws by his managers in recent years.
I'm surprised Hinske's agent couldn't find him a two-year guarantee, with recent comparables Geoff Blum and Ross Gload. But perhaps he only had interest in playing for the Braves or Brewers, limiting his leverage.
The Yankees’ “lack of tact” in their negotiations with Derek Jeter isn’t helping them, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Here are Rosenthal's latest updates on the Yankees and other teams around the league:
- Even Cliff Lee’s representatives would be surprised if the left-hander received a seven-year offer like C.C. Sabathia did.
- The Rangers were in on Victor Martinez “big,” according to Rosenthal.
- The Rangers are talking to Vladimir Guerrero and showing interest in Paul Konerko. The White Sox offered the first baseman arbitration, so it will cost a top pick to sign him.
- The Dodgers showed serious interest in Aubrey Huff before he re-signed with the Giants, according to Rosenthal.
- The Phillies discussed the idea of bringing Pat Burrell back to Philadelphia, but decided against it.
- Type B free agent Orlando Hudson almost certainly agreed in advance to reject the Twins’ offer of arbitration, Rosenthal says. The Twins agreed not to offer the second baseman arbitration if he was a Type A free agent, so Hudson may have agreed not to accept if he ended up a Type B.
- The Marlins have between $3-8MM to spend, depending on which one of Rosenthal’s sources you ask.
- Eric Hinske is close to deciding between the Braves and Brewers, who have both offered him contracts.
MONDAY, 11:26am: The Brewers and Braves are making early pushes for outfielder/first baseman Eric Hinske, tweets Tim Brown of Yahoo. On Friday, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported that the Braves made a one-year offer in the $1.5MM range in hopes of retaining Hinske. Interest is mutual, but Hinske wants a two-year deal.
Hinske, 33, hit .256/.338/.456 with 11 home runs in 320 plate appearances this year. He logged innings at left field and first base, and has also played right field and third base in his career. He's a left-handed hitter who has been shielded from southpaws by his managers in recent years. Given recent contracts given to Geoff Blum and Ross Gload, Hinske has a case for two years.
Dan Uggla is now officially a Brave and David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that both Uggla and the club are both interested in giving Uggla the extension he couldn't get from Florida. Atlanta GM Frank Wren said the Braves are willing to talk about a long-term contract but not immediately: “I don’t see any reason not to do [an extension]. I mean, we knew what we were getting when we made the deal, and he was the top guy on our list. But I just don’t think we need to jump into things right now.”
- The Marlins asked for Martin Prado in exchange for Uggla two weeks ago, but Braves GM Frank Wren said no. He offered Omar Infante, whom Larry Beinfest accepted, along with Mike Dunn, for Uggla.
- Uggla will wear the #26 jersey formerly worn by Brooks Conrad, but this doesn't mean the Braves will be getting rid of Conrad this winter.
- The Braves have offered free agent Eric Hinske a contract. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports the offer is a one-year contract worth $1.5MM.
- The club has not yet decided whether to tender Matt Diaz a contract. Arbitration eligible for the fourth time, the outfielder is a non-tender candidate.
- The Braves sent minor league outfielder Cody Johnson to the Yankees for cash considerations, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch (on Twitter). The 2006 first-rounder batted .189/.269/.343 in 260 plate appearances at Double-A this year. Johnson, 22, hit 32 homers in 2009 and 26 homers in 2008, so he has some pop.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post.
The Braves have three free agents and three option decisions; MLB.com's Mark Bowman has the latest.
- Of free agents Derrek Lee, Troy Glaus, and Eric Hinske, only Hinske has a chance of returning. Bowman expects him to survey the market first.
- Billy Wagner still hasn't changed his plan to retire.
- Bowman expects the Braves to announce later today that they've exercised their $2.5MM options on Alex Gonzalez and Omar Infante. They'll be declining on Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.
- Scott Proctor, who is arbitration eligible, is expected to agree to a deal with a $750K base salary and incentives allowing him to approach $1MM. The Braves also have Jair Jurrjens, Eric O'Flaherty, Martin Prado, Peter Moylan, and Matt Diaz eligible for arbitration.