Eric Hinske Rumors
Here are a few notes from the MLBiverse...
- Terry Francona sounds like a manager that is frustrated and wishes the Red Sox would go ahead and trade Coco Crisp. After starting Crisp for the second straight game, Francona said "The more [Jacoby Ellsbury] plays, the better he's going to be, and I clearly feel that responsibility...I'm trying to balance [playing time] the best I can."
- It only took a couple of weeks, but Scott Spiezio managed to mess up his latest opportunity with the Atlanta Braves. After failing to show to his AAA Richmond game "ready to play", Spiezio was released by the Braves.
- Rule 5 pick Tim Lahey, who was DFA'd by the Phillies, cleared waivers and has been sent back to the Twins for $25K.
- With Evan Longoria now in the majors, the Rays may be forced to trade Jonny Gomes or Eric Hinske (who is off to a hot start) in the next few weeks.
A few random notes from around the MLBiverse...
- Henry Schulman says the Giants are in need of a backup catcher and a logical choice may be Astros backup Humberto Quintero, whom Bruce Bochy is familiar with from his days with the Padres. He also notes that the Rays have two experienced catchers that were just reassigned to the minor leagues in Josh Paul and Mike DiFelice.
- The Jays and Alex Rios are closer today to an agreement on a long-term extension than they were yesterday. That according to Rios' agent, Paul Kinzer. Yesterday it was reported that the Jays had offered a six-year, $65MM deal. No word yet on what any new offers might look like. Kinzer reasserted that a deal needs to be done by tonight or negotiations will be put off until after the season.
- Bobby Kielty initially accepted his demotion to Pawtucket, but he is now having second-thoughts and will wait a few days to see if any other teams are interested in a switch-hitting outfielder. With all the rumors swirling recently about teams in need of outfield help, I have to believe that Kielty will land a major league gig. PECOTA projects a line of .253/.331/.418 based on 159 plate appearances and Kielty can play all three outfield spots.
- The Dodgers made it official today, giving Andre Ethier the left field job. This puts one more nail in the coffin of one of the worst free agent signings in recent memory. The move means that Juan Pierre will be a reserve, one year after signing a five-year, $44MM deal. The Dodgers will certainly look to trade Pierre, but will have to swallow a good portion of the $36.5MM remaining on the deal.
- A couple of big names have made major league rosters after only earning non-roster spring training invites prior to spring training. The Rockies have given a job to Scott Podsednik, while the Rays did the same with former Rookie-of-the-Year Eric Hinske. In fact, Hinske will start on Opening Day and will be the Rays' right fielder against right handers to begin the season.
- Phil Sheriden notes that Adam Eaton was named the Phillies' fifth starter, but that may not last long as Pat Gillick will certainly be looking for a better option. Sheriden feels that Gillick is much better at making moves in-season than during the offseason.
Some random links for the day...
- I have created a Fantasy Baseball Closers page at RotoAuthority. With the help of readers it will be constantly updated with current closers and the pecking order of each team.
- Kris Benson will throw for teams again, probably a week from now. The Phillies will again be in attendance. Benson may only get a minor league deal this time around. I remember when he set the standard with his three-year, $21MM deal. Also, the Phils could look to move Wes Helms or Greg Dobbs now that they've signed Pedro Feliz.
- The Red Sox had their eye on Reed Johnson, perhaps thinking he would be non-tendered. He wasn't, and Joe McDonald says Bobby Kielty and Eric Hinske will probably sign elsewhere as well. That leaves Brandon Moss for the bench job, unless the Sox sign Tony Clark, Sean Casey, or Brad Wilkerson.
It's up to an impressive 5.7 degrees where I am, but I still don't think I'll be going outside much today. Hence, some odds and ends.
- Rob Bradford of the Boston Herald believes Eric Hinske might sign with the Diamondbacks this week. The 30 year-old former ROY has a career line of .255/.336/.434, with much better work against righties.
- John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus says the Red Sox are interested in the Pirates' Ryan Doumit. However Perrotto says the Bucs are reluctant to trade the versatile Doumit, who turns 27 in April. Only past Doumit rumor I can find was from Will Carroll in May of '06, saying he and Oliver Perez were being dangled to the Phillies.
- Perrotto believes the Royals could sign Bartolo Colon if he'll take a one-year deal; that may be true for several clubs. Paul Hoynes reports that the Indians watched Colon pitch, but weren't impressed with his sub-90 velocity. Hoynes says Kris Benson will have another throwing session and the Tribe will be in attendance.
- According to Marc Topkin, the Rays are talking with lefty reliever Trever Miller. The two sides haven't agreed on the term yet.
- Padres GM Kevin Towers commented about the team's rejected long-term overtures toward shortstop Khalil Greene. Towers brought a three or four year proposal to Greene but does not expect anything to get done. He stated Greene's possible desire to be on the East Coast as a factor.
- Vince Gennaro does an economic analysis of the Johan Santana rumors, indicating that the acquisition makes the most sense for the Mets.
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.
There's no doubt that the Blue Jays will need to address their pitching staff if they want to make the playoffs, as I detailed in this post. Today I've got a source giving us the latest buzz coming out of Toronto.
The Jays have approximately $2-4 million in the budget to compensate their deadline acquisitions. J.P. Ricciardi knows he'll need more salary room than that, so look for Shea Hillenbrand ($5.8MM) or Eric Hinske ($4.3MM) to change addresses before the deadline. Hillenbrand has an .821 OPS, pretty much average for a corner infielder. Hinske stands at .887 thanks to a strong walk rate and a career high slugging percentage. Hinske has faced righties 80% of the time this year, so that's given his stats a boost.
Gregg Zaun, in calling out his teammates' lack of leadership, may have punched his ticket out of town. Zaun's .908 OPS is 7th among catchers with at least 125 ABs. He makes a million bucks this year, so sending him to a team like the Rockies could clear a little payroll.
When manager John Gibbons brought in Brandon League a couple days ago to protect Roy Halladay's two-run lead, League was being showcased for a trade. Two home runs later the game was tied and League's value went down.
Poor decision-making and several other factors may lead to Gibbons's replacement this winter. Gibbons's support of George W. Bush and his team's perceived lack of intensity are issues. Bench coach Ernie Whitt has been mentioned as the likely replacement.
Last time we looked at players in their contract year and trade possibilities. Today we'll open the field and see who else could be available.
Dealing Shea Hillenbrand or Eric Hinske would probably make sense for the Blue Jays. It looks like the two will enter 2006 splitting DH duty for the Jays, and Hillenbrand may have twice as much value with the bat as Hinske. The problem is figuring out which team actually has a need for a middling 1B/3B/DH type.
The Red Sox have six starters (seven if you think Papelbon is rotation-ready), but they shouldn't be so eager to send one packing. Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling are highly unlikely to make all of their starts. Epstein might send Arroyo over to Tampa Bay for Julio Lugo anyway. More likely, of course, is a signing of Alex Gonzalez and a trade of David Wells for a spare part or prospect.
A lot of folks think Carlos Pena still has some good seasons ahead of him. For example, PECOTA projects him to hit .255/.349/.482 in 514 ABs in 2006. The Tigers could probably use some sort of contingency plan in case Carlos Guillen misses time again.
The Diamondbacks have too many veteran OFs and no place for Carlos Quentin. I'm sure Shawn Green and Luis Gonzalez are available, it's just a matter of finding clubs to take most of their salaries. Both outfielders are still contributors.