Random free agents: Hinske

DMZ · December 5, 2008 at 6:00 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

This off-season, I wanted to pick some random names out of the free agent hat and generally spout off about how I always end up thinking about roster construction. This will inevitably lead to me advocating the team sign a relief pitcher who can steal 15-20 bases.

What he offers:
– historically mashes righties
– he’s not so old at 31
– having been through a playing-time wringer last year, it’s unlikely he’s going to kvetch about any reasonable arrangement
– will probably come cheap
– former Blue Jay

You have to live with:
– he’s neutralized by lefties. His career line against them is .219/.293/.365.
– he’s not a defender any more
– his upside is probably not all that up

Random other info:
– late-season slump and being dropped off the Rays playoff roster for a time may drive his value down

Sounds like our new DH to me! Woo-hoo!

Really: last year, he still managed to hit .262/.344/.500 against right-handers. He’ll do pretty well in lefty-friendly Safeco Field.

The problem is that if you find him a platoon partner somewhere and protect him aggressively, he’ll still face some lefties, and on the season you’ll get ~400 at-bats out of him and hoping you get a .250/.330/.440 season out of him. Which is a little above league average but not much. The problem is that with Branyan you’re already looking at a potential platoon candidate, putting a little more pressure the remaining roster to fill more roles.

Hinske’s ability to play the outfield badly isn’t helpful, and with Branyan, his potentially competent first base defense wouldn’t be much of a bonus either.

Overall, Hinske’s kind of a boring possibility. This makes him useful as a baseline DH candidate. Take for instance Cliff Floyd. Over his career Floyd’s a much better hitter against lefties than Hinske. But he’s way more fragile. For the same money, which one would you rather have? Or Dunn, or Bradley, or so on… but I’m getting ahead of myself now.

There’s an inspiring pitch — “Hinske: a decent and reasonably priced default platoon DH option to compare other against”


13 Responses to “Random free agents: Hinske”

  1. DRMariner on December 5th, 2008 6:23 pm


  2. Benne on December 5th, 2008 7:39 pm

    Well, he’s a better option than Turbo (how’s that for damning with faint praise?). I’d be in favor of taking a one-year flier on Hinske as part of a DH platoon.

  3. thr33niL on December 5th, 2008 7:55 pm

    I don’t think I could stomach Hinske at DH and Branyan at 1B. Although I like Branyan, I’m hoping that the Mariners only take on one reclamation vet at time.

  4. nickwest1976 on December 5th, 2008 8:11 pm

    What about trading for Nick Johnson to play 1B and moving Branyan to DH? Then the M’s could find a decent platoon partner for Branyan.

    I don’t mind Hinske but I agree with the previous poster that Hinske and Branyan seems like a bit much in terms of guys that need platoon partners.

  5. DMZ on December 5th, 2008 8:29 pm

    It’s what a bench is for. I don’t see any issue carrying at least two platoons. But I’m not establishment baseball thinking, obviously.

  6. coasty141 on December 5th, 2008 9:10 pm

    I’m all for it because it should be cheap and the downside is minimal.

    Sidenote: Bill James and Marcel project Hinske with a sub 800 ops.

  7. coasty141 on December 5th, 2008 9:12 pm

    Hey… whats up with Chad Tracy these days?

  8. niterunner on December 5th, 2008 9:37 pm

    What do you think about Oliver Perez? ESPN’s Keith Law ranks him at no. 10 for free agents, which seems overrated to me.

    Oh nevermind, I see that he was offered arbitration (Type A).

  9. Benne on December 5th, 2008 9:59 pm

    It’s a twisted and scary world we live in when Oliver Perez is considered a Type A free agent.

  10. CMC_Stags on December 5th, 2008 11:27 pm

    It’s what a bench is for. I don’t see any issue carrying at least two platoons. But I’m not establishment baseball thinking, obviously.

    DMZ – Roster Construction Question:

    If Branyan is half of platoon #1 at 1B, where does it make the most sense for the M’s to have the 2nd platoon? Is it cheaper/easier for them to use the #2 platoon at DH or to find two outfielders with strong platoon splits?

    I would also propose that if the team keeps Reed, they could try to find a free agent OF with strong platoon splits versus LH pitching.

    Could you take a gander at Gabe Kapler next in your series?

  11. DMZ on December 6th, 2008 1:30 am

    I think you end up with the second platoon in left. Though I threw Hinske out here randomly, if you figure that Johjima’s a full-time catcher and Clement needs to get at least 400 plate appearances, those are most likely going to come at DH. And if you’ve got Clement taking a massive chunk of the DH at-bats, someone like Hinske doesn’t make a lot of sense any more.

  12. sugar2323 on December 6th, 2008 9:49 am

    Here’s one to think about as a cheap LF/CF platoon with some skills, Ryan Langerhans.

    I like a possible look at Tracy and what about about someone like Eric Byrnes to bring a little energy and attitude?

  13. pmbaseball7 on December 6th, 2008 2:12 pm

    I love the idea of Langerhans if I’m not mistaken he’s one of the better outfielders in the game he sounds like a potential low risk high reward FA to me. Byrnes has $22M left on his contract and a complete no trade clause I do love the way he plays the game but I’ll pass. Tracy would probably be a good pickup he’s owed $4.75M this year and an option for $7M in 2010 with a $1M buyout. His career line is .343/.461/.285. He’ll be 29 in May.

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