Eric Hinske ‘having a great time being a Yankee’

Just say no to Sergio
The home run that shouldn't have been

On June 30, the Yankees acquired Eric Hinske from the Pirates in exchange for two minor leaguers. The move came just days after Xavier Nady‘s attempt to rehab from a torn UCL was pronounced a failure, and that the outfielder would undergo his second Tommy John surgery. Hinske, who had signed a one-year deal with the Pirates over the off-season, wasn’t hitting the cover off the ball in Pittsburgh, but that didn’t concern the Yankees much. They wanted a bat with some pop off the bench, and Hinske provided just that.

At the Pocono Record, Justin Rodriguez has interviewed Hinske to talk about the Pirates, the Yanks, the AL East, and the perception of Hinske as a good luck charm. It’s a quick read that shows off Hinske’s loose personality, but there is one item of particular note. Apparently, the Yankees did pursue Hinske over the off-season, but he signed with the Pirates in late January.

Why would Hinske sign with the lowly Pirates over the powerhouse Yankees? He wanted regular playing time. This is something we constantly cite in explaining why it is difficult for the Yankees to assemble a deep bench. On a good team, Hinske is a bench player. At the time, the Yankees had Johnny Damon, Nick Swisher, Xavier Nady, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez playing his four main positions (LF, RF, 3B, 1B). How much playing time would he realistically have gotten if those guys stayed healthy? Very little, which also raises the question of why the Yankees pursued him in the first place.

When Hinske didn’t get regular playing time in Pittsburgh, he asked General Manager Neal Huntington for an out. He granted just that, allowing Hinske to fill a similar role on a much better team. Not that he has a problem coming off the bench. “You can make a decision to be a miserable person or make a decision to help the team win,” he said in the interview. It sounds and looks like he’s fitting right in with the Yanks. While he’s not a big reason for the Yankees surge, he does provide valuable bench depth which allows Girardi to give his veterans a day off. You might not see that in the box score every day, but it’s fair to say that having Hinske as the first bat off the bench is a bit better option than, say, Gardner, who was their first option earlier.

Again, the interview is worth a read.

Just say no to Sergio
The home run that shouldn't have been
  • Salty Buggah

    I like how he said he ran to the plane when he heard he was traded to the Yanks in some earlier article.

  • mike HC

    Don’t try to make it up to Hinske by giving him his own article for completely forgetting about him in yesterdays bench article, hahah.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

    Why would Hinske sign with the lowly Pirates over the powerhouse Yankees? He wanted regular playing time.

    Quoted for truth.

    To build the bench some fans want via free agency, the Yankees would have to woefully overpay for role players. This build-via-trade method is far better.

    • Salty Buggah

      +27

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Or you could admit Cashman is a failure!1!
      He lucked out obviously!!! He is obviously a very bad GM!

  • A.D.

    Hinske could have gotten way more playing time signing with the Yanks, given A-Rods injury

    • whozat

      For a month. He clearly felt that he had a better opportunity in pittsburgh.

      • A.D.

        Obviously he though he did, who wouldn’t, but I was merely making an observation that funny enough this time it didn’t pan out, and he would have been better off as a Yankee.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      damn…if we could only turn this hindsight thing around… :)

      wouldnt it be nice to have a great knowledge of whats going on around you to be able to have that kind of insight?

      I think someone did have that knowledge:

      How much playing time would he realistically have gotten if those guys stayed healthy? Very little, which also raises the question of why the Yankees pursued him in the first place.

      why did $man pursue him? cause he knew about Arod’s hip, and they weren’t sure what was going to occur in the next 60 days.

      that’s my story and i’m stickin to it.

    • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

      ARod’s injury was revealed in “late January?”

  • ChrisS

    Very little, which also raises the question of why the Yankees pursued him in the first place.

    Had Cashman signed Hinske, he could have then traded Swisher, or more likely, Nady.

    • jsbrendog

      no he couldnt have

      nady/swisher are each >>>>>>>>> hinske

      • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

        yeah but he’s also cheaper and regardless of what we think as fans teh management keeps a close eye on costs

        • jsbrendog

          agreed. but nady/swisher are both starting caliber players.

          hinske hasnt been since he won rookie of the year (he did win on toronto right?)

          i mean, I wouldn’t have minded if he traded nady after having igned hinske, you know pending free agent etc.

          i just dont see cash trading swish no matter what him being able to play all 3 of positions (whether he wants to play cf or not) and 1b and being under contract cheaply for the next ocuple years with an option after.

          then, in hindsight revisionist history stylee it would’ve been amazing if they had signed hinske and traded nady cause then you have hinske, whatever you got for nady and what we gave up for hinske (granted who cares, filler) and the team trading for nady would be S.O.L. big time.

          • Mike Pop

            If Cash signed Hinske, Nady was as good as gone.

            Unfortunately, didn’t work out for us.

  • Makavelli

    Eric “The Swift” has always been a decent bat. Not to mention he’s played on every single team in the AL East except for the Orioles…lol

    • Klemy

      There is always next year. lol Kevin Millar is aiming to beat him to this goal of dating the entire AL East though.

      • Makavelli

        Haha yeah. Greg Zaun is making a strong case right now too lol

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          Chad Bradford too.

      • A.D.

        Somehow I think Hinske has a better chance with signing with the O’s than Millar ever being a Yankee.

    • Kevin

      Lost Vikings reference ftw

  • Makavelli

    He had 5 home runs in his first 21 at bats for the Yankees this year…including one of the games being a 2 home run show. Since then he’s gone 0-4 in 7 plate appearances with a lonely sac fly. Oh well…

    • Klemy

      But…he was robbed of that game winning hit by Drew. That ball was scorched.

      • Makavelli

        Yeah you’re absolutely right. It’s amazing what JD Drew is capable of during the 10% of the time he actually tries…

  • Mike Pop

    Considering what the Yankees gave up for him, and I believe that the Pirates sent money to the Yankees also. Love the acquisition for this team, what happened with X sucked. A forgotten man, a lost trade chip. I don’t know what they could have got for him, but anything of decent value would of been something nice to add to the farm system.

    I’m glad Hinske is happy here, hopefully he keeps up his production and will want to come back for next year if he fits in.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      I’m with you.

      I’m not sure where Hinske fits in for next year. Maybe he does, it depends on what the Yankees decide to do with all of the depth in CF (Gardner, Melky, A-Jax), what they decide to do about the DH (resign Damon, or send Posada there permanently), and what the heck the final solution is to left field. For such a solid team full of long term contracts, there is going to be a lot of change on this team before next year!

      • mike HC

        Sending Jorge to DH permanently is not in the plans. That is for sure

        • jsbrendog

          nor should it be unless:

          a) montero is ready to catch at the ml level and jorge is still around

          or

          b) jorge is physically no longer able to catch and forces their hand because his body won’t/can’t hold up behind the plate.

          his bat is best played at C for as long as humanly possible.

      • ChrisS

        what the heck the final solution is to left field

        The way that Swisher has been showing off his arm, I’d think an OF of Swisher/Gardner/Melky (and AJax as a mid-season call-up) going into next season wouldn’t be the end of the world.

        • jsbrendog

          no but it is by no means ideal in any way

          • V

            It’s OK to me if the goal is for the outfield to be Crawford/AJax/Swisher in 2011.

        • mike HC

          That would be as bad as it could possibly be. Not the end of the world, but there is not even an option that could be worse than that.

  • steve s

    My 7 year old pointed out that Hinske looked like that guy in Mall Cop (Kevin James, also known for King of Queens). Not a bad separated at birth observation (especially when you see Hinske run!).

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I remember thinking in the winter that Hinske would be a nice bench pick up. I’m glad he’s on this team. The bench really has turned out well for the Yankees, despite all the people who said Cashman and Girardi couldn’t assemble one. There is possibly room for a right handed power bat on the bench, but it’s not entirely necessary at this point, right? The fact that Pena, Hairston, and Hinske cover literally the entire field between the three of them makes me just as happy as a right handed power bat would.

  • Makavelli

    I personally think “chemistry” is overrated…if you’re winning of course the “chemistry” is good and if you’re losing…the opposite is true. It’s all nonsense. Do I feel that some players, a la Arod, bring a certain inconvenience to the ballclub with their gratuitous headlines? Of course…I’m sure David Ortiz’s media reports took a toll on the Red Sox. Kevin Youkillis even said that the NY Media gave the team “Swine Flu” with all of the questions, etc. Do I think it takes over a whole team? Absolutely not…but it certainly plays a role…and not a good one.

    When you fill your team with a bunch of level headed guys who like to have fun like Teixeira, Swisher, etc…Damon was already there…add Hinske, loosen up Arod a little bit, have the young guys Cano and Cabrera in there along with some of the younger AAA guys that come back and forth…it certainly does add an atmosphere that hasn’t been seen in a while.

    While I don’t necessarily believe chemistry is what wins championships…I do believe it doesn’t hurt when everybody is loose and having fun…but that’s just common sense.

    • Dela G

      chemistry isn’t overrated at all. Can you show me a championship team in the past 7 years that didn’t have that “it” factor when it came to team chemistry?

      • whozat

        The argument is that playing well and winning breeds this “it” factor. It makes a lot more rational sense than believing that liking each other breeds winning.

        There’s no way to determine the causal relationship here. We all agree that there’s often a correlation, but no one can really prove causation.

        Though the Bronx Zoo teams won and hated each other. So, either you think that baseball is different now, or you admit that the only evidence we have indicates that winning does not require chemistry, and thus a causal link is unlikely.

    • jsbrendog

      while i agree chemistry doesn’t win championships and it seems everyone has chemistry whe winning it is the teams that have that chemistry and can maintain it when losing will not fall into such long funks and can revert losing streaks and slumps much more than teams that only get along when theyre winning.

      chemistry might not win championships but i def believe it can help avoid extensive ruts via preventing infighting, confrontation, etc. You got through an 8 game slide and can keep that chemistry together everyone still feels good about what’s going on and you pick yourselves out of it, not end up like the met’s the last tow years with finger pointing and lack of leadership.

    • mike HC

      Chemistry is something that usually has to be developed. It is not a “you either have chemistry or you don’t” kind of thing. Playing a 15 inning scoreless game against your most hated rival, with the stadium rocking, can build team chemistry. Overcoming an 0-8 deficit against your most hated rival to sweep four straight can build chemistry. Making an effort in the Spring Training to do things as team can build chemistry. Giving guys pie in the face after walk off hits can build chemistry. Stories of the Yankees improved chemistry were coming out in Spring Training. There was effort put in to the chemistry the team is currently showing.

      • jsbrendog

        chemistry.

        • http://www.twitter.com/shaked RichYF

          Aww you two are so cute.

        • mike HC

          Are you trying to say I used the word “chemistry” too much when writing a comment about “chemistry?”

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD
          • mike HC

            Oh, now I get it. He wants company in the “i overused a word and got a RAB meme about it” group. I would be welcome to join him, except the word I kept using was actually the subject and repetition was my point.

            • jsbrendog

              wow. joke. everyone calm down. have a beer. jeez.

              • mike HC

                Didn’t meean to come off as being serious. I’m just messing around too.

                • Bo

                  Brendog strikes again as the board nazi.

                • http://www.facebook.com/dougchu Doug

                  /OAKTAG

                  (or should that be “BOAKTAG?”)

                • jsbrendog

                  ietcvm

                  hehe boaktag. brilliant.

    • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

      Chemistry is overrated and underrated. The main stream media touts it as the be all and end all. “Chemistry breeds winning.”

      Number geeks dispel chemistry as a myth. “Winning leads to having fun. Chemistry doesn’t exist.”

      The truth, as is usually the case, is somewhere in the middle.

  • Dela G

    Hinske is da man!

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Hinske with your best shot.

    I’m sorry, truly. but I had to.

    I’m a turd.

    • jsbrendog

      are you a christmas turd?

    • kimonizer

      Are you Sergio Mitre (see previous thread)

    • Salty Buggah

      Who are you, Nick Swisher?

      /Doug Mientkiewicz’d (and woo! I got it right on the 1st try)

  • ADam

    Hinkse is gonna be a great LH bat of the bench in the playoffs

  • Joe

    happy to have him. guy’s been on playoff teams and seems like another good guy to have in the clubhouse/on the bench. helps that he can still hit pretty well despite not being able to get into a rhythm by playing everyday. good move by cashman

  • gilsu

    as a baseball lover from a faraway land this yankee team is way different from the one i learned to love in 8 years that iv been into them. alot of fun and excitement from swisher and burnett. at first i was hesitant with loving hinske but hey.. he has proved his worth in a overly demanding fan base. he is welcomed as a part of a post torre yankee… imagine him with a traditional lineup and that would be hard! girardi must be credited with this yankee addition

    • Bo

      You know winning a lot has a lot to do with that.