Eric Hinske Rumors
Astros scouts haven't been told to watch specific teams or players, so Roy Oswalt doesn't need to start preparing for life after Houston just yet. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark has the details on Oswalt and more rumblings from around the major leagues:
- Oswalt has told friends he'd love to play in St. Louis and it's believed that he would be interested in joining the Dodgers and Braves.
- We've heard lots about the $29MM remaining on Oswalt's deal, but the Angels have some money, according to an official Stark spoke to. The Nationals may be "the one team that would pay the whole freight on the contract."
- GM Andrew Friedman says he wasn't sure how Rafael Soriano's National League experience would translate to the American League East when the Rays dealt for him last offseason. Needless to say, the Rays have been pleased with Soriano's dominant start to the season.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells Stark that other teams offered Jose Contreras "much more money" last winter.
- Braves GM Frank Wren says he's pleased with Eric Hinske's play and notes that teams probably don't pay enough attention to their benches.
- Wren says the Braves would not have interest in adding a starting pitcher. Besides their current rotation, they have the injured Jair Jurrjens and Triple A pitcher Chris Resop.
- GM Jon Daniels says the Rangers saw "a guy with major league ability and pedigree" when they scouted Colby Lewis in Japan last year.
- One scout says the Blue Jays are definitely tracking Fausto Carmona and have watched his last 12 starts.
- The Red Sox have tried trading Mike Lowell unsuccessfully, but they aren't eager to eat the $8MM-plus remaining on his salary.
- Rival clubs say the Yankees haven't decided what their trade deadline needs are, though they're showing some interest in versatile outfield bats.
Rounding up some news from around the majors on this Tuesday night....
- MLB.com's Jason Beck cites a report from an unnamed radio station which states the Tigers' offer to Jose Valverde is for two years. In another piece, Beck calls Detroit "the most logical destination" for Valverde.
- Brett Gardner has two backers (sort of) in Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News and ESPN's Keith Law. McCarron would like to see the Yankees acquire a "get-the-uniform-dirty type" but thinks Gardner should get "a real chance" to play every day. Law would let Gardner start the season because he feels that potential signings Reed Johnson or Xavier Nady are "marginal improvements that may not justify the cost."
- Jordan Bastian of MLB.com says the Blue Jays aren't thinking of moving Vernon Wells to a corner outfield spot in spite of Wells' declining UZR numbers in center. One factor might be that the Jays don't really have any other solid CF options, especially with Alex Rios no longer on the roster.
- C.J. Wilson is not a candidate to be traded despite the Rangers' signing of Darren Oliver, reports Ben Rogers of ESPNDallas.com.
- MLB.com's Jim Street says Miguel Tejada's asking price is too high for the Mariners to make a play for the free-agent infielder.
- Brian McTaggart of MLB.com passes along a report from Houston's KRIV-TV that Great Court Capital is the investment company negotiating to buy the Astros from Drayton McLane.
- Eric Hinske tells David O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Atlanta "really seemed like the best situation" out of the clubs who made him offers.
- Doug Miller of MLB.com provides a quick round-up of some of the remaining free agents on the market.
The Braves officially signed first baseman/outfielder Eric Hinske to a one-year worth about $1MM. Hinske can earn another $500K in incentives. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com broke the story a week ago, and David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution followed with contract details.
Hinske, the 2002 Rookie Of The Year, hit .242/.348/.432 in 224 plate appearances with the Pirates and Yankees last season. The Braves were looking to add a pinch-hitter to complete their winter moves from a lineup standpoint, and Hinske's signing fits the bill. He fares well against right-handed pitching (.804 career OPS) and can play first, third and both corner outfield positions. Also, as Miller's story noted, Hinske is "something of a good-luck charm," having played in the last three World Series. So, in the words of Bill Murray, he's got that goin' for him.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
A few links to start the day...
- Andy Martino of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that the Phillies will prioritze defensive versatility over power when filling Matt Stairs' roster spot, though Stairs, Miguel Cairo, and Paul Bako are welcome to come to Spring Training on minor league deals.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com has an update on the Orioles' negotations with Mark Hendrickson. Last month we learned that Hendrickson hoped to re-sign quickly.
- ESPN's Keith Law wrote about players coming off injury, and notes that Ben Sheets is worth gambling on, considering his upside.
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com say that despite the Brewers' logjam on the infield, a trade will probably not happen "unless some club offers the pitching equivalent of (Mat) Gamel."
- David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News takes a look at the Phillies' pitching staff to see which free agents may or may not fit.
- R.J. Anderson at FanGraphs wrote about free agent (and good luck charm) Eric Hinske, while his blogmate Dave Cameron took a look at some interesting minor league free agents.
- Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan took the time to speak with Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com about several of the team's 2009 draft picks.
- Buddy Carlyle has joined the Nippon Ham Fighters, according to Kyodo News.
- Not only do players truly hit the open market on Friday, but teams must also set their 40-man rosters for next month's Rule 5 Draft that day as well. Dave O'Brien of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes about a player the Braves may choose to protect, while Erik Hahmann of DRays Bay looks back at Tampa Bay's history in the Rule 5.
- Speaking of Morosi and O'Brien, make sure you follow both guys on Twitter!,
On this date 64 years ago, the Dodgers announced the signing of Jackie Robinson, who would become the first African-American to play major league baseball since the 1880s. Robinson would spend the '46 season with Triple-A Montreal, hitting .349. The next season he would hit .297/.383/.427 and help the Dodgers to the National League pennant. With the Hot Stove season only days away, let's take a look at what is being written in the Blogosphere...
- Sox and Pinstripes looks at what it would take for the Red Sox to land Adrian Gonzalez.
- Phlavio's Corner attempts to fix the Diamondbacks in three moves or less.
- Around the Majors takes a look at the free agent class of shortstops.
- MLB Notebook breaks down the market for Jim Thome.
- Nick's Twins Blog makes an off-season blueprint for the Twins and projects next season's roster.
- Capitol Avenue Club examines what the Braves can do to reload the bullpen in 2010.
- Talking Chop says the Braves need to add a power-bat this off-season, in part to protect Chipper Jones.
- Marlin Maniac sees Eric Hinske as a good fit for the Marlins.
Some links for Friday morning...
- Roch Kubatko of MASN.com doesn't expect the Orioles to win the bidding for free agent lefty Aroldis Chapman, but the club doesn't have a policy against signing Cuban defectors, according to a high-ranking Orioles official.
- Tyler Hissey of Around the Majors takes a look at this year's class of free agent second basemen. Players like Mark DeRosa and Freddy Sanchez have value, but Hissey doesn't see a true star among the group.
- MLB.com's Carrie Muskat says the Cubs aren't going to sign DeRosa just because he's popular. Jeff Baker is currently the frontrunner to start at second base next year.
- Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog thinks John Lackey, who turns 31 today, would be a fantastic pitcher for Citi Field.
- The Blue Jays are looking for a Canadian scout and, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, have received permission from the Phillies to interview a member of their front office for the job.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker compiles a list of players who could spend next season in Japan, including Kenji Johjima and Eric Hinske.
- Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle points out that most of baseball's best-respected managers improved in their second or third stints.
- Felix Perez, the Cuban outfielder who was suspended for lying to the Yankees about his age, has been reinstated, according to Jorge Arangure Jr. of ESPN.com.
The Twins released Luis Ayala after failing to trade him, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was designated for assignment after struggling on the mound and failing to get along with manager Ron Gardenhire.
A dosage of links to soothe and satisfy between innings:
- Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune got Carlos Zambrano to respond to the poll that 57.2% of Cubs fans think he should be traded: "Fine, trade me to Boston," he joked.
- Joe Posnanski gives an in-depth look at the problems facing the Royals. "The Royals execs are smart people. But the more they do to this offense, the worse this offense gets," he says.
- Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, cricket players from India who won a reality T.V. show called "Million Dollar Arm" and had never picked up a baseball until recently, are now set to play their first game for rookie-level Pirates affiliate Bradenton.
- M.A. Mehta at the Newark Star-Ledger talked to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who says the deal for Eric Hinske "made some sense...he's a pro."
- Bart Hubbuch at the New York Post tweets that the Mets "inquired repeatedly" on Mark DeRosa but didn't like the price.
- ESPN's Keith Law takes a look at some intriguing pitchers in the Cape League (Insider).
- Kiley McDaniel tweets that Baltimore is a "serious darkhorse" for the services of Miguel Angel Sano, with the Pirates and Twins still favorites.
- According to MLB.com's Rustin Dodd, the Royals have begun discussions with first-round pick Aaron Crow.
Links for Tuesday...
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post heard that Eric Hinske cleared waivers two weeks ago.This means the Mets, Yankees or any other team could have had him for the $800k remaining on his salary.
- Sherman believes the Pirates won the other trade they made today, acquiring Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan from the Nats.
- Tom Verducci of SI.com names his All-Star team and it's heavy on youth.
- Astros first rounder Jiovanni Mier told MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo that the pace of the game is noticeably faster in the pros.
- Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle says Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz are making Ed Wade look smart.
- Just one month to go until the trade deadline, so be sure to follow MLBTR on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Yankees acquired Eric Hinske from the Pirates for two minor leaguers, Casey Erickson and Eric Fryer. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Yankees are getting $400k in the deal, which is about half of what's still owed to Hinske. Sherman also offers eight reasons the Yankees made the deal.
Erickson, 24 in August, has 37 strikeouts and a 2.25 ERA in 44 innings of A ball this year. Fryer, who will turn 24 two days before Erickson does, has an OPS under .700 and 11 steals as a catcher and outfielder in A ball.