I get back to Virginia today to find that the Pirates agreed to terms today with bench player Eric Hinske, and extended the contract of Paul Maholm three years, with an option for a fourth year.
1. Maholm’s contract buys out his three arbitration years, and gives the team an option of one free agent year.
2. Hinske’s base salary is reported to be around $1.5 M.
3. Someone will have to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Hinske. My choices:
A. Romulo Sanchez: 4.05 K/9, 4.05 BB/9, 0.58 HR/9 in 31.1 IP at the major league level, turns 25 in April. Hasn’t shown much in the minors, with a combined 6.49 K/9, 3.31 BB/9, and 1.10 HR/9 in 131.1 IP between AA and AAA.
B. Luis Cruz: Hit .224/.270/.269 in 67 AB last year in the majors. .248/.288/.371 in 1263 AA at bats. .236/.269/.404 in 275 AAA at bats. Turns 25 next month, but doesn’t seem like anything better than a defensive option.
C. Virgil Vasquez: They just picked him up, but he’s been dropped by a few teams lately (the Pirates are the third team to claim him since the end of the 2008 season).
My vote would go to Sanchez, simply because it’s harder to find a shortstop and a starter than a relief pitcher with poor strikeout ratios.