Hinske Hits the Market Again

For the third time in as many off-seasons, Eric Hinske will be able to select his next team on the free agent market. The 2002 Rookie of the Year is far removed from any shred of stardom and continues to etch out the career arc of a role player.

Hinske’s BABIP fluctuated heavily between 2006 and 2007 which led to a pair of odd seasons. In 2006 his BABIP reached a career high .335, and he enjoyed a .357 wOBA in the process while joining the Boston Red Sox. The next summer his BABIP dipped to .254 and his wOBA dropped like a rock to .316. His 2008 and 2009 seasons look somewhat similar:

2008: 432 PA, 20 HR, 11% BB, 23.1% K, .218 ISO
2009: 224 PA, 8 HR, 12.4% BB, 27.4% K, .189 ISO

A little less power and contact, but the walks are a welcome addition to most lineups. He’s an uncommon left-handed bat with an appetite for an all-righty diet. In what might be the biggest surprise, UZR rates Hinske as an average to slightly above defender in the field despite his bulky and, at times, lethargic frame and embarrassingly short-ranged dives. To his credit, Hinske usually catches what he gets to, and while his arm isn’t winning any gunfights with Vladimir Guerrero or Ichiro, the total package seems to get the job done.

Last off-season Hinske was essentially frozen out of a job until the Pirates called. It’s easy to see the same thing happening this off-season, although Hinske figures to stick in the American League. Not because of defensive limitations or league favoritism, but because each of his last three teams have won the pennant and two of those teams won the World Series. He’s the ultimate winner and general managers should plan accordingly.




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26 Responses to “Hinske Hits the Market Again”

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  1. LOL says:

    Ultimate Winner really? As soon as he got his contract he ate himself off the Blue Jays.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      I thought it was some pretty good snark, personally.

      Cue the Jason Kubel yapping in 3… 2… 1…

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    • Logan says:

      My sentiments exactly. “ultimate winner”? This better be sarcasm.

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    • Joe R says:

      Of course it’s sarcasm, you yutz.
      Fact is, though, he’s still a solid utility role guy that can help a team win in a 4th OF / 3rd corner IF position. And he’s been efficient in all those positions, which frees up a roster spot (since he can serve as a reserve for all 4).

      And he can be had for $800,000 – $1,000,000.

      And in the past two years, he’s been +28.3 RAR in 656 PA.

      So let’s not diss the guy for being a role player.

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      • Aaron says:

        I’m pretty sure he’s not being sarcastic. Remember R.J.’s article about “Kazmir’s historic dominance over the Sox”?

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/alds-coverage-maybe-boston-left-their-bats-at-fenway

        Lot’s of old school thinking going on here.

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      • Joe R says:

        All he said was it was the major storyline, not arguing that Kazmir has this superman aura about him when he enters Fenway Park.

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      • Aaron says:

        I could be reading more into that earlier article than was meant but Anderson’s whole point seemed to be that the Sox were performing poorly at the plate (which, by the way, is a story you can’t tell without mentioning their series BABIP at that point.)

        Why even bring up Kazmir’s numbers against “the Sox” unless you believe in pitchers’ ability to “dominate” a “team”? Sorry for all of the quotes but team makeup changes so much from year to year that talking about the ’07 Red Sox and ’09 Red Sox as the same team doesn’t really make sense. What would make some sense is to point out how well the then current Red Sox had hit against Kazmir before that game – .295/.370/.485. Although even that discussion should be tempered by the low number of PA’s involved.

        If R.J. was just trying to point out what the mainstream will be looking at for that game it seems like an odd way to end an article that had nothing to do with mainstream perceptions.

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      • Joe R says:

        I’m pretty sure that, in fact, it was all he was doing in that article, and I’m pretty sure that’s all he did here.

        In fact, I guarantee that’s all he did here. Because you know someone’s going to write the crazy Hinske-magic article at some point.

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      • CH says:

        Poe’s Law:

        “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”

        R.J. violated/proved this law here.

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      • Aaron says:

        I was being sarcastic, couldn’t you tell?!

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      • Aaron says:

        “I’m pretty sure that’s all he did here.

        In fact, I guarantee that’s all he did here.”

        Now that’s humor. It paints such a vivid picture of the actual mental process at play.

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  2. Steve says:

    Orioles off-season plan:

    1. sign Hinske
    2. win pennant
    3. profit!

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  3. mjmetro says:

    I’ll say one thing for the man; he knows how to play in the AL east!

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  4. Steve says:

    After the Yankees traded for him, there was a story how Cashman tried to sign him last winter as a 4th OFer but he declined in search of more playing time in Pittsburgh.

    nothing wrong with that, but he wasn’t sitting by the phone all winter. he just wanted to start.

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  5. Mitchell says:

    Eric Hinske: the Forrest Gump of baseball.

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  6. TheUnrepentantGunner says:

    Hey… any time you get to take the secrets from the Pirates clubhouse and infuse them into your clubhouse, you can’t pass it up!

    I should advise if you sign hinske you might want to sign Chuck Knoblauch as his right handed caddy, plus it allows you to double the intangibles!

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  7. Joe says:

    Yankees may re-sign him if Matsui departs.Hinske could DH against righties with Ramiro Pena and Cervelli pushing Arod,Jeter and Posada to DH against lefties.

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