When I got an e-mail from the Pittsburgh Pirates mailing list saying the Bucs had made a trade with the Yankees, my heart may have skipped a beat. I was certain that the Yankees were gonna rob the Pirates of Freddy Sanchez or one of the Laroche brothers or Zach Duke. I have to say I was relieved that it wasn’t one of them, but I wasn’t happy when I realized who it was. I’ve said it before, I wasn’t happy that the Rays didn’t re-sign Eric Hinske in the off-season. He was a great addition to their team; he was part of a 4-headed-monster at DH splitting time with Cliff Floyd, Jonny Gomes and Rocco Baldelli. I was pretty upset that all of them moved on. I was glad that Hinske found a job with the Pirates, though. They are my favorite National League team and they spring train just a few blocks from my house. The only problem is they weren’t utilizing him. He can play 1st and 3rd base, both spots occupied by LaRoche’s. He can do left or right, occupied as well. He was pretty much relegated to pinch hitting and not too often (.255, 1, 11).
In the grand scheme of things, it’s a great career move for Hinske. Balls fly out of the new stadium and Eric can hit the long ball. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits 15 in the second half of the season as a part time player. I’d be happy for him, too, as long as those home runs don’t matter. I’ll be damned if we (the Rays) miss the playoffs because Hinske is winning games for the Yankees in September. I just hope this is the first and last trade the Pirates do with the Yankees this year, or ever. On the up side, the Pirates got something (2 prospects) in exchange for Hinske, right-handed pitcher Casey Erickson (3-3 2.25 in Sally League) and young catcher Eric Fryer.