Yesterday began with the AJC’s Dave O’Brien speculating that the Braves could maybe sign Johnny Damon. Today dawns with a move that is somewhat less inspiring:
Just a few hours after signing Troy Glaus, the Braves added his backup when
they agreed to terms with Eric Hinske on a one-year contract to serve as a
pinch-hitter and versatile bench player.
No financial terms were available this morning, but I presume he’ll be making roughly the same salary as your neighborhood barista.
Just before the Hinske signing, O’Brien related word from the Braves themselves that they will not be making any other major moves beyond adding an corner/pinch hitter type of guy. This is that move, it seems, and with that the Braves’ offseason is likely over for all intents and purposes. That means that they are content to go with an outfield of Melky Cabrera, Nate McLouth and Matt Diaz to start the season. Unless, that is, they decide to say screw the super two status and break camp with Jason Heyward as their everyday right fielder and platoon Melky and Diaz in left.
I hope they choose the latter. I fear, however, that they will choose the former and once again lose the division race before it even gets going due the lack of a full complement of major league caliber outfielders.
But let’s think more positively. Hinske finished the 2007 season in the World Series with the Red Sox, the 2008 season in the World Series with the Rays and the 2009 season in the World Series with the Yankess. It is therefore proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic that the Braves will win the 2010 pennant.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.