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Pirates to Sign Eric Hinske

It's semi-official now. He'll get a base salary of around $1.5 million, which sounds fine for a guy who hit 20 homers last year. As choices of bench players go, Hinske isn't a bad one, and with the Pirates facing considerable uncertainty at three positions Hinske can play (both corner outfield spots and third base), it's nice to have someone competent. As I said yesterday, given the good chance that one or more bench players end up grabbing 400 or so at bats this year, I'd prefer the Pirates grabbed a couple of higher-upside guys, even if that's perceived as a riskier strategy. Hinske's not young and has had plenty of chances as a regular player. While he has a smidge more upside and is a better fit for the Pirates' particular roster needs than, say, Doug Mientkiewicz because Hinske hits for power and plays better defense at the positions where the Pirates have the most uncertainty, Hinske is still pretty much a known quantity. If you want a known quantity for a bench spot, though, Hinske's fine, especially for $1.5 million.