Eric Hinske

Hit at almost exactly his career level (.256/.338/.456; career is .254/.336/.439) but oddly context differences (overall decline in offense, mostly) meant it was actually one of his better years. A solid bench bat who had a hot streak when inserted into the lineup as a platoon leftfielder, which was a big spark in the Braves surging to first place and getting enough wins to hold on to the wildcard. He slumped and fell out of the lineup; after that, he was mostly used as a pinch-hitter, even though nobody really seized the job and the Braves were using Melky more than anyone.

A “professional hitter”, which means he doesn’t really have a position. The Braves never even considered him for third base even after both Chipper and Prado went down, as he played just one inning there all year. A good athlete as a young player, he’s put on a bit of weight and doesn’t run at all well anymore, and isn’t a good outfielder. In 2011, he’s basically a pinch-hitter/insurance policy for first base. He’s a very good bench player, but the Braves don’t want him to get more than a handful of starts, because that would mean something’s gone wrong.

Eric Hinske Statistics

112 thoughts on “Eric Hinske”

  1. He really should have been starting in LF against RHP instead of Melky during the NLDS, especially with our powerless offense. At least he’s a threat to hit one out.

  2. If Wagner doesn’t get hurt, Hinske goes down with one of the five biggest home runs in Braves history.

  3. Easily one of my favorite players of the past few seasons. Very colorful player in that the camera always seems to pick up his F bombs. He also gave me one of the most exciting moments at a baseball game when he roped that ball down the line for a homer in Game 4, I believe, of the NLDS.

  4. As much as I like him, the only time I want to see Eric Hinske play is pinch hitting for the pitcher.

  5. In an ideal world he’s just pinch hitting for the pitcher, but spelling a corner position in case someone is battling injury is unavoidable. At least we have a guy on the bench who resembles a major leaguer, instead of someone like Greg Norton absorbing those ABs.

  6. To me, Hinske is the kind of guy that might have made a difference in some of the Braves playoff defeats in the 90s; ie, a guy that could come in off the bench and produce, a la Mike Devereraux and Luis Polonia in 1995. One big hit like he had in Game 3 could have turned several of those playoff defeats around (I think).

  7. I was going to wait to post this to make sure that talkingchop allowed my post to stay up, but it’s actually been recommended by a few of the authors over there.

    On the side (where their fanposts are located), I am running a contest for the “pick the 25-man roster”. If you want to submit your roster, go over to talking chop, read the rules, and submit your guess. The winners will receive an autographed copy of my friend’s book “God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC”. The losers get…NOTHING!

  8. When they said it was torn, I gave him a break. I question it now. Of course, the Bears played better with him out so…

  9. A sprain is a tear. You’re trying to play couch-doctor without even understanding the basic terminology?

  10. No doubt the knee was unstable, as attested to by the team trainers and doctors who wouldn’t let him back onto the field.

  11. I agree, his knee might have been unstable. They should have taken him to the locker room and put him on some crutches, that would have ended the debate. I feel bad for him.

  12. Why should they have to put on a show? To satisfy tough-guy fans who need to see someone acting hurt in order to believe that he’s actually hurt? How dare everyone involved not cater to the ignorant masses rather than the expert medical opinions of those actually on the sideline!

  13. Cutler was really, really terrible in the first half. And clearly hurt. The offense was nonexistent till they put in Hanie. Why anyone would question the Bears’ decision to take out Cutler is beyond me.

    But, Stu, the “expert medical opinions” on the sideline rarely have the health of the player in mind. Usually they’re more concerned with winning the game than making sure that the player will be able to walk without pain a year after the fact. They may have made the right move with Cutler, but NFL training staffs are hardly paragons of the Hippocratic oath.

  14. 28—I seriously doubt that. They’re freaking doctors; they’re smart enough to know it’s the general public that looks so stupid, here.

  15. Hanie wasn’t great, but he made himself some $$$ yesterday. And Todd Collins looked like the prototype old backup QB who was hoping he wouldn’t have to play.

  16. 29—OK. That doesn’t have much to do with what I’m saying, though… Whether they took him out to protect him, since he couldn’t move, or to increase their chances of winning, since he couldn’t effectively throw, it wasn’t a case of Cutler lacking “heart” or “toughness” or some other such nonsense.

  17. We will never know this, but if Cutler told the doctors he was going back in and no one would stop him, do you think he goes back in?

    I think the trainers and the coaching staff did him a disservice.

    Of course, I also think the coaches cost the Bears the game.

  18. I think the trainers and the coaching staff did him a disservice.

    That’s an interesting angle, but I just don’t buy it. They yanked him out of the game because they didn’t think he could/should go. None of the Bears coaches or players seemed to have a problem with their decision.

    I place the blame on ignorant players and irresponsible journalists. And, of course, the fools in the general public who jumped on board with their rushes to judgment.

  19. I agree with you. I don’t think Cutler should be blamed here. First of all, he probably wanted to stay in the game, so it doesn’t make much sense to blame him for coming out. And second, it would have been insane to let him stay in the game, because he was simply terrible.

  20. Ditka is a grade A ass about this sort of thing. Ditka was a tough guy to be sure, but even if Cutler could play, somehow, the best move for the teams short term future was to have a guy out there who could play at the highest level. A lame QB isn’t going to help things.

  21. Him staning around on the sidlines just didn’t look good and someone should have known that. In the end he is the victim here.

    You’re right Stu, there are a lot of people who rushed to judgement. Someone on staff with the Bears should have known that would have happend.

    Granted, there are doctors who told him to sit, but the NFL is a perception league and everyone knows it. Someone with the Bears should have done something. How hard would it have been to give him a set of crutches? You can’t tell me someone there wasn’t thinking about this and just blew it.

    If Cutler got an MRI today and it showed his leg was hanging on by his leg hair, there would have been people out there saying “Well, he did walk off the field, he should have played.” He was never going to win this. Someone with the Bears failed to do their job.

    If it had been Brett Favre, he would have been in a wheel chair and Roger Goodell would have to keep running on the field to pull him off. It would have been a show, but that is what the NFL is.

    Hell, I hope they trade him to the Titans and we win the Super Bowl and he does on one knee.

  22. I am stunned at the rush to judgement by NFL players and some former players who ought to know better.

    Apparently, Lovie Smith is lying through his teeth when he said the coaching staff wouldn’t let Cutler return.

    I hate TwitterNation. I really do.

  23. Granted, there are doctors who told him to sit, but the NFL is a perception league and everyone knows it. Someone with the Bears should have done something. How hard would it have been to give him a set of crutches? You can’t tell me someone there wasn’t thinking about this and just blew it.

    If Cutler got an MRI today and it showed his leg was hanging on by his leg hair, there would have been people out there saying “Well, he did walk off the field, he should have played.” He was never going to win this. Someone with the Bears failed to do their job.

    And I disagree. The public — which, collectively, rushed to an asinine judgment — failed here, not the Bears or Cutler.

    I thought this tweet from Harry Pavlidis summed it up rather well:

    Most Type 1 diabetics a few months removed from a brain injury would play football with a torn MCL, or so some healthy people say.

  24. Which is why it is a singularly irrelevant sport for me – the fact that baseball and it’s writers and fans are having a wrenching time with steroids, while the NFL does everything but put them in the players lockers, tells you all you need to know.

  25. 40—I don’t even know what that means, Smitty. Sounds faux-profound, to me.

    If Jay wants to be more well-liked, should he work harder on his public image? Yes. Is it surprising that a bunch of fools rushed to judgment about his injury? No. Does it make them any less foolish for doing so? No.

    Anyone paying attention to the facts, from the beginning, knew better than to insinuate that Jay Cutler is a wuss.

  26. I am trying to defend Cutler.

    The NFL is built on this tough guy image and the Bears failed Cutler here. Someone on the medical staff and/or the PR staff will lose their job over this.

    The NFL is about one click away from pro wrestling.

    Is it stupid? No doubt. But it is reality.

  27. Someone on the medical staff and/or the PR staff will lose their job over this.

    Name the bet, and I’ll take it. There is no way that’s true.

  28. If Cutler took himself out of game, it was a brave act to give the team better chance to win. Packers were playing a prevent Offense as well as prevent Defense.

  29. I’m shocked at the players for twitting this crap. I would have expected players to be the last ones judging another player to fans. They don’t even know what the hell they are talking about. I think Urlacher was right–it was jealously because they were sitting home.

    At the same time, Cutler is apparently not very popular around the league and this seems to confirm that. I can’t imagine players doing this if it were another player.

    This is sort of like people complaining when a ballplayer (Chipper?) sits out with a hand injury and people say what a wimp. You can’t hit with a bad hand and you can’t really play quarterback with a bad knee. To pretend otherwise for the sake of looking tough is really putting yourself ahead of the team.

  30. I really find this whole Cutler thing ridiculous. It’s a classic example of people opening their mouths without having anything worthwhile to say, and then trying to keep themselves from looking like total jackasses later on after all the information has come out.

    By definition, a sprain is a partial tear. Have people played on sprained MCLs? Yes, though people have also not played on them. It’s kind of dependent on how bad the sprain is, i.e. how bad the tear is. It seems like when people play on it, it’s normally in the next game, after a week of injury management and with the use of a brace which keeps the knee from collapsing every time the foot is planted, not right after it happens. But just for reference, Sean Weatherspoon of the Falcons missed seven weeks with a sprained knee ligament early in the season.

    I dislike Jay Cutler more than a little bit, and I think he’s a pretty crappy NFL quarterback, but none of that means that he quit. In fact, nothing in his apparent makeup or his prior history would suggest that he’s anything close to a quitter. For people just to assume that he is because they don’t like him is lame, to say the least. And for people to make retarded armchair medical diagnoses to support their theory, such as “If you can stand, you can play quarterback at an NFL level in 15-degree weather” (I can stand. Can I play QB at an NFL level in 15-degree weather?) is even lamer.

  31. I really find this whole Cutler thing ridiculous. It’s a classic example of people opening their mouths without having anything worthwhile to say, and then trying to keep themselves from looking like total jackasses later on after all the information has come out.

    Exactly my thoughts. Why in the world would you leave a game like that if you could continue? Why???

  32. Better Eric Hinske get more than a handful of starts than Matt Young or Diory Hernandez get more than a handful of starts I guess.

    I’m OK with Hinske getting 40 starts a year or so. Chipper is going to miss some games and Hinske’s probably the guy you want starting in his stead (with Prado at 3rd) off the bench.

  33. There’s hurt and there’s injured. There are some injuries that just cause pain but basically leave you with full use of your limbs. It sounds like Cutler had the other type. The kind where you can’t play effectively. You could see this in his throws. He was all over the place. It was clear that he couldn’t get a good plant. When the player is unable to perform because some particular part of his body isn’t working, you pull him, and it doesn’t matter how tough he is.

    FWIW, this could explain most of Cutler’s career. It might be that he’s a lot tougher than we think and has been playing injured the whole time.

  34. I really find this whole Cutler thing ridiculous. It’s a classic example of people opening their mouths without having anything worthwhile to say, and then trying to keep themselves from looking like total jackasses later on after all the information has come out.

    Um… are you really surprised that some football players are jackasses?

  35. I was listening to a Kurt Warner interview a few days ago and he said that in St. Louis everything they did with Martz was based on timing. He then said Martz had to change it in Chicago because, “Cutler has to see it to throw it” I don’t know if he meant it as a dig or not, but it correlated well with how I’ve always viewed Cutler.

  36. Well, if that were true, he would’ve made about three pass attempts, total, in his four years at VU.

  37. I didn’t really mean it as a dig, and I don’t know if Warner did either; regardless of how one views Cutler, I think most would agree that his game isn’t complete as a Rivers/Manning/Brady/

    It starts at the 11:00 min mark after clicking on Kurt Warner

  38. Oh, believe me, I don’t think Jay is a great NFL QB. That seems like a weird observation, though, since pretty much every throw he made in college was about timing and accuracy. Because, other than one year of Earl Bennett, he never had any receivers who were getting any sort of noticeable separation.

  39. This reminds me of the many Auburn fans I had to deal with that called Colt McCoy a wimp for coming out of the NC game against Alabama…

    A high school friend even said, “I played high school football. There is no way that hit by Dareus did that much damage.”

  40. I didn’t know that Gil Meche just walked away from $12 million. Could have gone on the DL and collected.

  41. a Grade-II MCL tear usually costs players 3-4 weeks, so in my opinion, the keyboard cowboys who slammed Cutler via twitter owe him an apology.

    in other news, the word is that the Indians are taking offers for Sizemore…

  42. Stu,

    To this day the worst call in college football history is when Bennett got that celebration call at Florida. I still can’t beleive they threw the flag.

  43. Sizemore is coming off a big time injury. I would rather have the Choo guy Cleveland has. I would think Sizemore would cost more than you would want to risk.

  44. Now I now really wish his full name was Gilbert Garry Meche instead of Gilbert Allen Meche so he could have been (more appropriatley) nicknamed Gil-Ga-Meche? Too esoteric and nerdy?

  45. Sizemore came up in discussion earlier this offseason. I think he’d be a great high risk / high reward type of wager. I’d have more confidence in a bounce back from him than from McLouth. However, without looking it up, I’m not sure how he would fit in the payroll unless the Indians are kicking in lots of cash.

  46. @72

    I love it.

    On a barely related note, check out this website, which offers up a moderately humorous retitling of Gilgamesh to capture its true essence:

    My favorite: any James Bond novel could accurately be retitled Poonraker.

  47. Sizemore has been in a serious injury-related decline for several years now. According to B-Ref, his WAR have decreased for four straight years, for what it’s worth. (It’s similar but less dramatic on Fangraphs, where 2008 was better than 2007 but still slightly worse than 2006, which both sites agree was his best year.) More importantly, in the last two years, he has gone from All-Star caliber (from 2005-2008) to nothing special (2009) to sub-replacement level (2010).

    He’s under contract for $7.5 million this year, with an $8.5 million option next year. If he’s healthy, there’s a very good chance that he’d be well worth that money, but he hasn’t really been healthy since 2008. I’d certainly be interested in him if he were cheaply available, but I sure wouldn’t give up Teheran. He’s had three DL trips and two surgeries in the last two years for knee and elbow injuries. So he may be fully healthy… but I’m not willing to overpay to find out.

  48. @76, let’s not get too crazy now – 2010 is clearly in injury season, and 2009 is quite valuable for a CF, certainly better than what I’d call “nothing special”. If they’d take McLouth as part of the trade, I’d send them some money and a prospect as well, how good depending on how much salary relief they need. Agree not Teheran/Delgado in any case.

  49. Spike, in 2009, Sizemore was worth 1.9 fWAR or 2.4 bWAR. A 2-WAR season is basically league-average for a starter. That’s what I meant by “nothing special.” He wasn’t stealing their money, but he wasn’t distinguishing himself in any way. Then he fell off a cliff in 2010. And two straight year-ending surgeries have a way of giving me pause about the player’s health going forward.

  50. I guess you could send them McLouth, but you’d have to pay part of his salary 2011 and probably his buyout for 2012 for them to assume that risk. Sizemore is still valuable, but the Braves arent going to be able to add him without clearing Nate’s salary 1st and thats just not possible right now.

  51. @81, I agree with using war as a comparative tool generally, but it’s just not made to break down individual seasons – the defensive data is far too variable to work on that granular of a level. A CF with a 110 OPS+ and 18 HR is pretty darn valuable – not trying to parse your statement to death, but I would pay 8M if you guaranteed those numbers, even with pedestrian defense. Sizemore is a great bet to get that, and a not bad bet to do a lot better. there are injury concerns of course, but neither of the two you mentioned are particularly chronic, and the surgery he had last year “should” produce a better result than the other treatment options.

    I think it’s a good bet, and I would give something good not great (again depending on salary) to acquire him.

  52. I would add a Hank Aaron autograph to that Stu.

    Well…on second thought…maybe just that world championship ring Melky left in his locker.

  53. Spike, in principle, I agree with you that single-year WAR tends to break down because of its reliance on defensive stats that are increasingly unreliable in increments of less than three years. However, the drop in his WAR from 2008 to 2009 is mostly offense — B-Ref actually has his defense improving from 2008 to 2009.

    In all events, both Fangraphs and B-Ref agree that he was a bunch less valuable in 2009 than in 2008. B-Ref thinks he was about three wins worse; Fangraphs thinks he was about five wins worse.

    By all means, I’d love to have a center fielder who can hit 18 homers in 106 games while playing average defense, even though the power numbers were much lower than he was posting a year or two earlier. And, of course, WAR is a counting stat, so the fact that he posted 1.9 or 2.4 WAR in just 106 games is impressive in itself — prorated to a full season, it’s a much better tally. But I’m not fully ready to prorate him to a full season, because all the injuries make me doubt his health. Maybe I’m putting him in a catch-22, but right now he’s damaged goods as far as I’m concerned.

  54. See, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

    Sizemore would be a risk, but one that makes sense except we’ve blocked ourselves from it by accepting McLouth’s ridiculous contract. (Only Fannie and Freddie have agreed to accept more egregiously packaged deals.)

    Sometimes Wren operates with hope as his strategy. I’m actually ok with some of that but you can’t hamstring a cash-challenged franchise with long-term, stupid money contracts for mid-level players.

    ‘Cause when you do, your strategy is not hope, it’s playing the lottery.

  55. I tire of this revisionist history junk with respect to Wren. Nobody foresaw this kind of collapse from McLouth. Yes, it was a move with some risk, but do you remember (a) what our outfield looked like, or (b) what McLouth’s previous seasons’ numbers looked like, at the time of the deal?

    Yes, right now, the McLouth salary has hamstrung the Braves a little bit, for a single season. That doesn’t mean it was some sort of negligent maneuver, in the first place.

  56. McLouth’s contract is not ridiculous. It was viewed as extremely team-friendly at the time. He makes $6.5 million dollars this year. For a final arb year, that’s an extremely reasonable rate.

    The problem is McLouth turned into a lemon.

  57. If we could get Sizemore cheap, then do it. That isn’t going to happen. If anything he is a mid way point pick up.

    1) The Indians have very few players fans want to see. Sizemore will put some fans in the seats in Cleveland.

    2) They are going to want MLB ready young pitching. Mike Minor would have to go along with one of our young arms in the pen.

    3) They would probably also ask for Prado

    4) He is due more money than we can spend.

    So this would be the trade (or at least some combination that probably has these players in it)

    Minor, Venters and Prado for Sizmeore and $$$.

    I am not sure that makes us a better team. Especially if Sizemore isn’t healthy.

  58. 91—There is no way the Indians would ask that much for Sizemore. Not close to that much. Wren would literally laugh at that suggestion on the phone.

  59. “The problem is McLouth turned into a lemon.”

    Partly. The other problem is Liberty doesn’t want to spend any money.

  60. @94, Agreed. Chipper and Lowe take up a significant chunk of that, so it seems like less than it is.

  61. Sizemore is pretty much a dead-weight contract at this point. Trading Kawakami (similar salary dump) plus a B-level prospect seems like a reasonable exchange. You get Sizemore’s upside for Kawakami’s (smaller) upside plus a decent prospect.

  62. It would be fun, though, to not have to count each dollar. Although one could argue that having an unlimited budget leads to foolish decisions.

  63. “Minor, Venters and Prado for Sizmeore and $$$.”

    Why in the world would anyone want to consider such an awful trade? Prado is more valuable than Sizmore by himself at this point. You could probably make a case that every player included in the scenario is more valuable than Sizemore right now.

  64. I have to vote for Proctor because he shouldn’t be here at all. There is absolutely no upside to his signing. That said, Linebrink will almost certainly get more innings and, thus, opportunities to implode. And yeah, he will implode. Just not enough to make me ever dislike the Proctor signing less than his.

  65. It is so weird to see Stegeman so full and loud, without any gymnastics competitions taking place.

  66. For what it’s worth, the starting pitcher posts are all written now and I am working on the relievers, though I haven’t gotten to the Scotts as yet. The relievers, for whatever reason, seem to be more fun to write about, or at least easier to write more about. I’m set to continue the current pattern (new posts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings) through Valentine’s Day.

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