Eric Hinske proved himself to be a useful bench player last year — and he had a shot at being a playoff hero if Brooks Conrad hadn’t intervened — and as a result, the Braves quickly offered him a contract last week, reported to be in the neighborhood of $1.5 million. Atlanta has some competition, however, as Tim Brown is reporting that the Brewers are interested too.
Hinske is a nice player to have around on a year-to-year basis, but if his newly-found popularity results in him demanding two years or substantially more dollars, the Braves should probably cut bait. They need whatever financial flexibility that have to shore up center field and the bullpen and can’t be making largish commitment to corner guys with some pop.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.