Bench empties as Hinske lands in Atlanta

Cashman: 'Our team is, for the most part, set'
Yanks, Mitre avoid arbitration

The Braves signed a former Yankee outfielder late last night, but it wasn’t Johnny Damon, the one we half-expect them to land. Instead, Atlanta signed Eric Hinske to a one-year deal. The utility player will serve as a bench player and pinch-hitter for the Braves.

Hinske came to the Yankees in mid-2009 in a deal that sent Casey Erickson and Eric Fryer to the Pirates. While with the Yanks, he hit .226/.316/.512 with seven home runs in 98 plate appearances. In the postseason, he made just one appearance and walked during the World Series. He also inspired one of the all-time best Beyond the Box Score posts.

Generally, we would consider this a minor Hot Stove move, but it has some interesting ramifications for the 2010 Yankees. Earlier this off-season, we had heard that Hinske was interested in playing with Japan, and for a brief second, it sounded as though the Yankees were interested in bringing him back as a bench player. While atrocious in the field, Hinske provided the team with some much-needed pop off the bench. Clearly, though, the Yankees were willing to let him walk.

On a grander scheme, then, Hinske’s departure highlights a current problem with the Yankees. Their bench as it stands right now is really bad. Those not starting include Francisco Cervelli, Jamie Hoffmann and Ramiro Peña. Jerry Hairston is a free agent, and outside of Juan Miranda — deadly against righties, deathly against lefties — the Yanks have no obvious in-house options for their remaining bench spots.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen Brian Cashman mold and reshape his bench over the course of the baseball season, and this year is shaping up to be no exception. Reupping with Hairston is no sure thing as the Padres seem to have their sights set on him, and the list of remaining free agents feature some intriguing bats who will probably cost too much money.

To start the year, the Yanks will probably issue a bunch of Spring Training invites and hope that they can catch lightning in a bottle for a few months. With All Stars at nearly every position, that is right now the best we can hope for unless the Yankees are willing to overpay some role players, and that the team will not do.

Cashman: 'Our team is, for the most part, set'
Yanks, Mitre avoid arbitration
  • Alex K.

    The Braves just locked up the 2010 AL pennant.

    • Do Not Feed The Trolls!


      • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

        Don’t stop him…he’s on a roll.

        • All Praise Be To Mo

          Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

          • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

            The Vietnamese bombed Pearl Harbor. C’mon dude, read a book!

            • jsbrendog

              and a-dorphin and a-whare dropped the nuke on japan.

              fuck-a you whare!

              fuck-a you dorphin!

  • vin

    “To start the year, the Yanks will probably issue a bunch of Spring Training invites and hope that they can catch lightning in a bottle for a few months.”

    Seemed like a decent enough idea with Morgan Ensberg. Didn’t work out though.

    A team like the Yanks doesn’t have much need to spend big money on the bench; however, I’d feel more confident if they got a proven LF and kept Gardhoff where they belong.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Three words: Gerald “Ice” Williams.

      He’s been gone from the game long enough. It’s time to bring him back home to pinstripes. I’m sure he’s still in good enough shape to be a great 4th OF.

      • larryf

        agree on bringing back Williams…..Bernie Williams

        • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

          No…bring back (drum roll please)…KENNY WILLIAMS!

          /not doing this right, am I?

          • Thomas

            Ted Williams

            Trade for the rights to the body, reanimate, and BAM LF solved.

            • jsbrendog

              cadillac williams?

              • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

                Venus and Serena Williams? Imagine the handjobs they could give. I bet they could rip it off.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  I’d love to see Serena as our opening day LF, just to watch the argument she has with the umpire when a flyball to left falls right on the foul line.

                  “I swear to God, I’m going to take this $%&#! ball and shove it down your $%&#! throat.”

                • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

                  Considering the quality of umpiring in MLB, if that were to happen, I’d be strangely aroused. (For me, it’s not so ‘strangely’.)

                • Short Porch

                  Has anyone ever done a ranking of umpires?

                  Umps by the numbers?

                • king of fruitless hypotheticals

                  F#*K YOU TOMMIE.

                  my next client is waiting in the lobby, and i just peed my pants (granted, only a little, but still…fucker…)

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  I give because I love.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Bernie was great and all, but did he ever charge the mound and beat the shit out of Pedro Martinez? No, he did not.

          • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

            Mixed feelings on that one. Pedro is by far and away my favorite pitcher ever.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Dude… I get the respect people have for Pedro… But he’s your favorite pitcher ever? I respect Pedro’s skills and acknowledge the greatness of his career, but this is still the same guy who was the best pitcher on the Red Sox for years and who had more than a few incidents with the Yanks (multiple beanballs, the 2003 ALCS, etc.).

              I give him the type of respect you give to a worthy competitor, I’d never cross over into actually liking the guy or rooting for him. I just vomited a little bit in my mouth just thinking about rooting for him. Blech.

    • Bo

      Gardner should be on the bench providing speed and late game defense. hes not a starter. Which if they stick with the status quo they will find out the hard way come June.

  • CountryClub

    Didn’t Miranda have a nice yr vs lefties last season? I know it’s only one yr…but we can dream he figured it out.

  • larryf

    Bring on the Braves. Hinske and Melky return for the 2010 series. Good luck to Fred Flinstone-that Hinske will end up playing for every team before he’s done….

  • Mike Axisa

    Hinske came to the Yankees in mid-2009 in a deal that sent Casey Erickson and Eric Fryer to the Pirates.

    The Pirates also paid half of Hinske’s remaining salary.

    Ninja style.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Cashman (to Pirates GM Neal Huntington): You have 24 hours to give us our money. And, to show you that we’re serious… you have TWELVE hours to give us our money.

  • mike c

    does that mean we can have damon now?

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      Yeah, Hinske going to the Braves broke the market. Yep…uh huh…Damon a Yankee. Now it’s set in stone.

  • Dan

    I would LOVE to see the Yanks reach out to Barry Bonds to replace Hinske. Now that would stir up the pot. No?

    • larryf

      Arod would not like that as Barry hits 40 and makes it even harder to catch him.

      Unless Barry bats 3rd(300 walks) and Arod 4th…..

      I like it-let’s get Barry. 3-4 mil and 100k per homerun as an incentive…

  • Rose

    Eric StHinkske loves the World Series…3 years in a row with 3 different teams. Odds are the Braves trade him during the season to a contender and he winds up there again. So…the Yankees again perhaps?

  • jsbrendog

    once march comes the yankees will sign the guy that no one thought they would. he is the guy they will sign for their bench because no one else wanted him and he once hit two grand slams in one inning.

    that’s right. fernando tatis.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      You’re just saying this to piss off a certain someone, aren’t you? Come on, fess up.

      • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

        I’m kind of interested to know who that certain someone is. Clue me in, fellas.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          I haven’t been back around longer than a few days, but I’ve already seen Sal/Bo/Grant/Lanny shit all over a few people who mentioned Tatis’s name, in his typical multiple interrobangs style.

          • jsbrendog

            haven’t seen that, but now that I know i will def bo-bait with tatis haha. but honestly, see below, he doesnt seem the worst option. in fact he seems like a great bench guy, esp when (not if) he is unsigned in feb.

            • ColoYank

              Excellent! A new verb-type coinage: “bo-bait.” I like it a lot.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                Sadly, my “boversimplification” seems not to have caught on, and I can’t use it anymore myself since I’m not responding to his comments anymore.

                • ColoYank

                  Well, so use it in a generic sense, like when Lanny or mryankee bloviates (like it?) on a subject they nothing about.

                  I’ll join in, I promise. I’ll use both.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  I can’t use it on Lanny… that’s Bo.

                • ColoYank

                  Really? Shows you how out-of-touch I am.

                  That’s kind of an interesting psychology, wouldn’t you say, to use multiple handles to express one opinion? Would that be to give extra weight to it perhaps? Which would be laughable, given some of the opinions expressed.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  We’ve pondered the great mystery that is Sal/Bo/Grant/Lanny longer than I can remember.

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      TaterTits wouldn’t be the worst option, aside from his ill health. He hit lefties pretty well and plays a good LF.

      • jsbrendog

        he also played 192 innings at 3b last year, 51 at second base, and 7 at ss

        he also hit 285 in 340 official abs and had a 105 ops+

        and his splits arent terrible
        v lhp: .278/.364/.440
        v rhp: .285/.321/.425

        and he bats rh….


        • A.D.

          and 7 at ss

          Yikes, that must have been ugly to watch

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            It was on the Mets. It was ugly to watch, by definition.

            • ColoYank

              Ouch! However, truer words were never spoken. Who says the truth doesn’t hurt?

    • Bo

      Tatis. Thats not even a funny joke.

      He makes Hinske look like an all star.

  • Mark

    I’m concerned the Yanks could wind up doing what they did in 2004-2008, basically ignore the bench and fill it with useless guys in their late 30s or AAAA guys with no obvious skill. Hinske is pretty replaceable but it would certainly be a mistake to provide no competition for Cervelli, Pena, Hoffman and Miranda.

    Side Note: Someone needs to give Miranda a real chance, he has upgraded his D at 1B to passable and he learned to hit LHP last season — he also missed having the longest AL home run of 2009 by 2 feet (469 ft. off of Dale Thayer @ TB)

    • Steve H

      As far as hitting LHP, very SSS. And long HR’s doesn’t have anything to do with how he can play major league baseball. Ozzie Canseco could hit a ball 500 ft.

    • Bo

      If Miranda could play some team would have traded for him by now. Some guys are classic 4A players.

      • themgmt

        If Miranda couldn’t play, the Yankees would have traded him by now. Some guys are classic 4A posters.

  • A.D.

    So far it seems the Braves are spending that Vazquez salary room on some random pieces.

  • Bo

    Why the Braves didnt spend their savings on a legit OF bat is head scratching. If they didnt make so many bad decisions in the past they wouldnt have had to trade one of their better pitchers for a lottery ticket in Vizcaino.

  • Section 39

    We don’t need to start opening day with a deep bench. The bench is easily added at the trade deadline for the late-season push and leaves you time to see how your minor leaguers develop.

    Pena is fine as a backup from the bench for the infield. How many times are we benching our infield — really? Nick Johnson, although his defense sucks, can still sub into the 1B spot to give Tex a day off.

    Clearly we are not done in the OF. I would fine it hard to imagine Cash being comfortable with Gardner and Hoffman in LF with no other backups. Signing another OF and having Gardner and Hoffman from the bench is still above average for sure.

    Cervelli is more than adequate as the bench catcher.

    I really don’t see how our bench is so terrible.

    • Am I the only Kevin?

      Agreed on most of your points.

      Our bench is fine to start the season, and it is always easier to build a good bench in season through trades then in the off season. Mediocre players (i.e., good bench players) do not sign free agent contracts for 200 PAs on teams like the Yankees. They take every day jobs with teams like the Pirates and Royals to get a starting role and then get traded mid season to contenders. Very rarely will you see a player that could get a starting role on a crappy team sign on for a bench role on a contender.

      The bench right now with Cervelli, Pena, Hoffman, and XXX is already better than last year’s opening day bench, no? If XXX becomes Reed Johnson, Gomes, or some other useful RHH then it would easily beat last year’s opening day bench and perhaps be as good as the September ’09 bench.

      Me? I am more worried about the bullpen. What am I missing here?

  • Pingback: Quick Bits: Chapman, Cone/YES, Coaching Staff, Hairston, Montero, WS Trophy, Mitre | The iYankees Blog - A New York Yankees Blog