For the second straight season, Eric Hinske took a low-cost deal and yet again he finds himself in the American League East.
2008 Hinske: .247/.333/.465
2009 Hinske: .255/.373/.368
Hinske's ISO is teetering on a career low - something playing in Yankee Stadium should correct soon enough - but his BABIP is also nearing a career high at .333, so expect some trade-off between the two. ZiPS has Hinske worth 1.2 offensive runs all season, which is about five runs less than the Rays pulled from him last season. Presumably Hinske becomes the Yankees super-sub, filling in for Alex Rodriguez at third base, Mark Teixeira at first base, getting a few reps at DH, and some outfield time. He's a nice upgrade, but much like the playing time, the upside will be limited.
The worst news is Cody Ransom's time in the Bronx could be over, ending the purge on replacement level infielders. Neither of the ‘prospects' given up seem to be worth too much. Casey Erickson is a minor league reliever/spot starter with a pretty nice track record, but he's mainly a reliever, and that's not overly valuable. Eric Fryer had one really good season and not much else.
I can't blame the Pirates for flipping Hinske and without getting something sexy in return. He's on a cheap one-year deal without a gaudy first-half to back him up like last year. It's a nice deal for New York, adding about a win alongside A-Rod insurance.