Yankees acquire Eric Hinske from Pirates

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In a minor move designed to add some depth, the Yankees have acquired Eric Hinske from the Pirates for prospects Eric Fryer and Casey Erickson.

Signed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract this offseason, Hinske
played sparingly for the Pirates and hit .255/.373/.368 while starting
just 23 of 76 games. He’s unlikely to see any more action for the
Yankees, but as a veteran left-handed bat with some power who can play
any of the corner positions Hinske is a nice bench option.

He can fill in for Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira if needed, and
provides some outfield insurance behind Nick Swisher and Johnny Damon
with Xavier Nady reportedly headed for season-ending elbow surgery.
Hinske has always struggled against left-handed pitching, but is a
career .264/.347/.456 hitter versus right-handers and has averaged 20
homers per 550 at-bats.

Hinske came up with the Blue Jays, winning Rookie of the Year honors
in 2002, and later played for both the Red Sox and Rays, so he’s now
four-fifths of the way through completing the full AL East tour. He’s
your destiny, Orioles fans!

Both prospects heading the Pirates’ way are marginal. Erickson was a
10th-round pick in 2005 who turns 24 years old soon and has yet to
advance past Single-A, although he’s put up some solid numbers against
low-level competition. Fryer was hitting just .250/.333/.344 in 59
games as a 23-year-old at high Single-A after coming to the Yankees in
a February swap for Chase Wright.

Brad Ausmus out as Tigers manager

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The Tigers just announced that they will not be bringing Brad Ausmus back as manager in 2018. His contract was going to be up at the end of this season and they have decided not to renew it. Ausmus and his staff will manage the club for the final week of the season.

In the press release announcing the move, Tigers GM Al Avila said “[a]s we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best that we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position.” He went on to praise Ausmus for “doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances, especially this season,” a clear reference to the club’s decision at mid-season to blow things up. Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez were traded in July and August, as were some more minor players. The club is clearly embarking on a lengthy rebuild of which Ausmus, who was brought in four years ago to lead a contending team, will not be a part.

In his four seasons at the helm the Tigers are 312-325. He won 90 games and the AL Central in his first season in 2014, but the Tigers were swept out of the ALDS in three games. In the past three seasons they finished fifth, second and will either finish in fourth or fifth this year. Injuries and poor bullpens have been the biggest problem, but clearly this Tigers team was supposed to win more over the past four years.

It’s unclear what direction the Tigers will take in their managerial search, but it’s clear they’re going to go outside of the organization, as Avila said in his statement that the status of the current coaching staff will be contingent on the wishes of whatever new manager they hire.

Happy trails, Brad Ausmus. Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager is now Baseball’s Most Handsome Unemployed coach.

The Mets are doing something really weird with Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey

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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the Mets are going to give Noah Syndergaard the start for tomorrow’s game. But here’s the hitch: he’ll only get one inning and then Matt Harvey will enter in the second inning and go from there. Harvey was originally scheduled to take the start. Syndergaard, of course, has been out since April. Harvey has been pitching under the loosest definition of the term.

I can see, if they are intent on putting Syndergaard in a real game, having him start one rather than come in out of the bullpen for purposes of preparation and routine. At the same time, however, if he’s only able to throw one inning at this point, with a little over a week left in the season, what’s the point of him pitching at all? As for Harvey relieving: he’s kind of a mess right now. Is he someone whose routine you really want to throw off?

I guess this doesn’t hurt anything — at least as long as Syndergaard doesn’t hurt himself throwing in a meaningless game at the end of the season — but it certainly is odd. It makes me wonder if this is some sort of “Dave” or “Moon Over Parador” situation in which the Mets are just trying to create the impression that Syndergaard is still alive.

Could Kevin Klein pitch an inning? Richard Dreyfuss?