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- East Notes: Ibanez, Phillies, Mathis
- Blue Jays To Exercise J.A. Happ’s Option
- Central Notes: Maddon, Dirks, Giambi, Indians
- Alex Rios Hires Scott Boras
- Dodgers Decline Option On Chad Billingsley
- West Notes: Sandoval, Lewis, Ethier, Angels
- AL East Links: Chavez, Yankees, Breslow, Jays
- Angels Likely To Trade Kendrick Or Freese
- Rockies Exercise LaTroy Hawkins’ Option
- Mets Outright Satin, Rice, Eveland, Carlyle
- Cubs Hire Joe Maddon As Manager
- Yankees To Extend Qualifying Offer To David Robertson
- Rangers Decline Rios’ Option; Outright Adcock, Lucas, Figaro
- Brewers Exercise Mutual Option On Aramis Ramirez
- Rays Exercise Ben Zobrist’s Option
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Eric Hinske Rumors
Links for Saturday…
- Cameron Smith of the Washington Post thinks the Orioles should pull the trigger on a possible Rich Hill deal immediately.
- MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reports that Jermaine Dye remains "unfazed" by all the trade rumors that have involved him this winter.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests Dye doesn’t expect to return to the White Sox after 2009.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that Eric Hinske attracted lots of interest. Hinske said eight teams showed "good interest" in him.
- Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post likes the Josh Fogg signing because of his clubhouse presence and his price.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune heard that the Padres will not offer a contract to Brian Lawrence, Steve Trachsel or Scott Elarton (hat tip to Buster Olney).
- Olney heard that the Blue Jays are looking for bargains to stock up their minor league system.
8:46pm: Kovacevic says pitcher T.J. Beam was designated for assignment by the Pirates to make room for Hinske. Beam, 28, posted a 4.14 ERA and 4.7 K/9 in 45.6 innings for the Bucs this year.
12:45pm: According to Dejan Kovacevic, the Pirates announced the signing of Eric Hinske today. He’ll earn $1.5MM plus a possible $1MM in incentives.
Hinske was one of the best free agent bargains a year ago, as he hit .247/.333/.465 for the Rays at an $800K salary. He’ll be a useful, versatile player for the Bucs if kept away from lefties.
4:30pm: Kovacevic says Hinske and the Pirates have agreed to terms one a one-year deal with a base salary around $1.5MM.
THURSDAY, 12:20am: Dejan Kovacevic says Friday is more likely than Thursday for Hinske to sign.
WEDNESDAY, 5:23pm: Jon Heyman agrees. He says the Pirates are in serious discussions with Hinske, working towards a deal worth roughly $1.5MM.
11:22pm: Ken Rosenthal says the Pirates are closing in on a one-year contract with Hinske. An agreement could be reached Wednesday that would pay Hinske $1-2MM plus incentives. Dejan Kovacevic also has the story, noting that the signing would end Doug Mientkiewicz‘s time in Pittsburgh.
7:35pm: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirms that the Pirates have had contract discussions with Hinske and believes that the two sides "could be close to an agreement."
TUESDAY, 5:44pm: Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com has learned from a baseball industry source that the Pirates are targeting free agent outfielder Eric Hinske.
The Pirates could use Hinske as their fourth outfielder and primary pinch-hitting option. According to Langosch’s report, "discussions between the two sides have increased to the point where the Pirates may be bringing Hinske to Pittsburgh before the end of the week."
John Perrotto’s latest Every Given Sunday column at Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the top 20 remaining free agents (sorted by WARP3 – Wins Above Replacement Player) and offers destination predictions and top suitors (or lack thereof in some cases) for each one. For those without a BP subscription, here’s a quick summary:
- Manny Ramirez – Dodgers
- Orlando Cabrera – Athletics
- Derek Lowe – Braves/Mets/Cubs
- Adam Dunn – Nationals
- Bobby Abreu – Reds
- Ben Sheets – Rangers
- Orlando Hudson – Nationals
- Andy Pettitte – Astros (at less than $10MM)
- Jason Varitek – Red Sox (at less than $10MM)
- Ty Wigginton – Astros
- Ivan Rodriguez – Not much of a market, may have to take a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training if he’s not signed soon. Could he end up involuntarily retired, a la Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza?
- Kevin Millar – Orioles
- Mark Grudzielanek – Padres
- Braden Looper – Brewers
- Garret Anderson, Eric Hinske, Ray Durham, Jim Edmonds, Paul Byrd, Odalis Perez – All of them (with the exception of Byrd, who may retire) are drawing little to no interest and may be without a club on Opening Day.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Adam Dunn | Andy Pettitte | Ben Sheets | Bobby Abreu | Braden Looper | Derek Lowe | Eric Hinske | Garret Anderson | Ivan Rodriguez | Jason Varitek | Jim Edmonds | Kevin Millar | Manny Ramirez | Mark Grudzielanek | Odalis Perez | Orlando Cabrera | Orlando Hudson | Paul Byrd | Ray Durham | Ty Wigginton
On this date eight years ago, Juan Gonzalez signed a one-year deal for $10MM with the Indians. The contract is significant because Gonzalez had turned down an eight-year, $143MM deal from the Tigers less than a year earlier. Four years later on this same date, Carlos Beltran would not turn down a seven-year, $119MM offer from the Mets, becoming the tenth $100MM player in Major League history. With C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira already spoken for this year, there are no more $100MM players available, but there are still plenty of signings being made and many players still looking for work. Let’s gander at what is being written in the Blogosphere…
- The Bottom Line takes a look at which prospects the Red Sox should be willing to part with in order to acquire a catcher.
- In Mo We Trust wonders if the Yankees would be better suited to keep both Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher.
- When Sid Slid wonders if Kenshin Kawakami is a good fit for the Braves and feels the money would be better spent on Derek Lowe.
- Bleeding Blue and Teal asks if the Mariners are better suited looking at a player like Eric Hinske.
- C70 At The Bat contemplates the Cardinals’ payroll and wonders how the team can consider keeping all six of their outfielders.
- Mets Geek breaks down the Mets’ offseason and wonders if Omar Minaya miscalculated the market.
- El Lefty Malo is warming to the idea of the Giants signing Manny Ramirez.
- Feeling Dodger Blue says Manny is a "must," outlining why he is worth more than just the offense he will provide.
- We Should Be GMs chronicles the Phillie’s history of signing the "wrong brother."
- Midwest Sports Fans breaks down the Twins’ roster and payroll and looks at who the Twins should bring in and who should be moved, arguing that the team should keep Delmon Young.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | Baseball Blogs Weigh In | Boston Red Sox | Delmon Young | Derek Lowe | Eric Hinske | Kenshin Kawakami | Los Angeles Dodgers | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Nick Swisher | Philadelphia Phillies | San Francisco Giants | Seattle Mariners | St. Louis Cardinals | Xavier Nady
The latest from SI.com’s Jon Heyman…
- The Giants "look like a major threat" to the Dodgers for Manny Ramirez and are "making a serious run at him." Former teammate J.T. Snow apparently raved about him. Nonetheless Heyman says the Dodgers are "probably still considered the favorite." Heyman lists the Rangers as "intrigued." He believes Ramirez will get three guaranteed years somewhere.
- Heyman says Derek Lowe is "quite possibly" in play for the Phillies, though we heard from Ken Rosenthal today that the team denied interest. Heyman also sticks with the Brewers and Angels as outside possibilities despite reports to the contrary. He believes Mets GM Omar Minaya prefers Oliver Perez to Lowe.
- The Giants, Twins, and Rangers are in on Joe Crede.
- Players said to be in on Freddy Garcia: the Mets, White Sox, and Rangers. We can probably cross off the Mets with their Tim Redding signing.
- Heyman believes the Dodgers want to replace Brad Penny with Randy Wolf.
- Heyman says the Pirates offered more guaranteed money than the Red Sox to Rocco Baldelli. Dejan Kovacevic had this first in an article published early this morning.
- The Red Sox were looking at Eric Hinske but with Baldelli and Mark Kotsay in tow it’s unlikely. A Japanese team has "allegedly shown interest" in Hinske.
- Before signing with the Rays for two years and $16MM, Pat Burrell was getting offers in the one-year, $5MM range.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Baltimore Orioles | Boston Red Sox | Brad Penny | Chicago White Sox | Colorado Rockies | Derek Lowe | Eric Hinske | Freddy Garcia | Joe Crede | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Los Angeles Dodgers | Manny Ramirez | Milwaukee Brewers | Minnesota Twins | New York Mets | Oliver Perez | Pat Burrell | Philadelphia Phillies | Pittsburgh Pirates | Randy Wolf | Rocco Baldelli | San Francisco Giants | Tampa Bay Rays | Texas Rangers | Tim Redding
Let’s take a look at what is being written around the Blogosphere…
- River Ave. Blues debates Ben Sheets versus A.J. Burnett and wonders if Sheets will be the better bargain in the end.
- Detroit Tiger Thoughts shows that Jason Varitek is not a good fit with the Tigers, even in a platoon situation.
- Fire Brand of the American League lays down several reasons why the Red Sox should avoid signing Teixeira.
- Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? sees no downside to the Pirates’ signing of Indian imports Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh.
- The ‘Burgh Blues feels Eric Hinske is an economical fit for the Bucs.
- Amazin’ Avenue does not see Raul Ibanez as an upgrade for the Mets, suggesting he may not be any better than Fernando Tatis.
- The Baseball Opinion breaks down what the acquisition of Tyler Lumsden means for the Royals and Astros.
- Batter’s Box takes a look a recent J.P. Ricciardi quote and the current state of the economy and wonders if the Jays are going to reduce their payroll.
- Royals Review lists the ten best free agent signings in Royals history, topped by David Cone. Amazingly, four of the signings occurred in the last five seasons.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Burnett | Baseball Blogs Weigh In | Ben Sheets | Boston Red Sox | Detroit Tigers | Eric Hinske | Fernando Tatis | Houston Astros | Jason Varitek | Kansas City Royals | Mark Teixeira | New York Mets | Pittsburgh Pirates | Raul Ibanez | Toronto Blue Jays | Tyler Lumsden
Lou Piniella seemingly wouldn’t mind a left-handed power hitter on his team, even if he’s not complaining about it. It’s fair to assume the Cubs are locked in at first base, third base, and left field. That makes the left-handed power pursuit much more challenging.
We can probably rule out Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, Chad Tracy, Barry Bonds, Aubrey Huff, and Hank Blalock. Kosuke Fukudome could be shifted to center field, but none of these guys could handle right regularly.
I came up with three possibly available players who can play right field, somewhat. I’m thinking of Eric Hinske, Milton Bradley, and Ken Griffey Jr. Putting Bradley in right field with no DH option seems dangerous, and recent chatter says Junior’s staying put. Hinske, who is hitting .257/.340/.542 in 162 plate appearances, seems the best target. Keep in mind that this is just one guy’s opinion, not a trade rumor.
Before you fire up the grill, check out these links.
- Dayn Perry has an enjoyable series at Baseball Prospectus called Mock Blockbuster. He proposes trades that would benefit both teams. His latest: Greg Maddux and Brian Giles for Jordan Schafer.
- Rays Index wonders whether Eric Hinske or Gabe Gross could be expendable once Willy Aybar returns.
- Joe Capozzi remembers Mike Piazza’s five game stint as a Marlin.
- Pokey Reese sighting!
- Ned Colletti told struggling free-agent-to-be Derek Lowe the Dodgers aren’t slamming the door on him coming back.
- The Red Sox signed an Australian teen named Boss Moanaroa.
- Athletics Nation chats with Billy Beane.
- Jerry Reinsdorf hasn’t ruled out re-signing Joe Crede after the season.
- R.I.P. Geremi Gonzalez. I remember him as a bright spot on the ’97 Cubs. I mailed him a baseball card for an autograph, and it came back signed.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | Baseball Prospectus | Billy Beane | Boss Moanaroa | Boston Red Sox | Brian Giles | Chicago White Sox | Derek Lowe | Eric Hinske | Gabe Gross | Greg Maddux | Joe Crede | Jordan Schafer | Los Angeles Dodgers | Miami Marlins | Mike Piazza | Oakland Athletics | Pokey Reese | San Diego Padres | Tampa Bay Rays | Washington Nationals | Willy Aybar