With news that Xavier Nady is likely out for the season, the New York Yankees traded for a corner outfielder, getting Eric Hinske from the Pirates for two minor leaguers. Hinske is a former Rookie of the Year (2002 – Toronto), and was a key contributor to the 2007 Boston Red Sox.
For the Pirates, they get a couple of prospects in Casey Erickson, a pitcher out of Springfield College, and Eric Fryer, a former catcher now mostly playing in the outfield. Both look to be at least three years away from a major league roster, but might have skills. Erickson has decent command and from what his stats say, looks like he keeps the ball down – maybe a cutter or sinking fastball. He also throws strikes, but gives up a few hits per nine more than the really hard throwers. So, he probably could use a solid infield to help out – something he’s not getting with this Yankee’s lineup… Fryer is a hitter – batted .335 last year in A ball, shows some patience and a little pop. However, in the Florida State League this year, his batting average and slugging average is down a piece (which happens, by the way – big parks and heavy sea-level air).
I like this for the Yankees, even though Hinske hasn’t really panned out as a regular. They get someone who can help for three months rather cheaply – two guys who probably have a 15% chance of being as productive as Hinske. It gives the Pirates a little more depth in their organization – which is a positive – and both players have room for growth (probably a bit more time for Erickson than Fryer). In three years, Erickson could be a fifth starter or middle reliever that eats innings, which is a positive. Besides, Hinske wasn’t really in the Pirates long-term plans.