Today in the Star, Richard Griffin has a little piece on Eric Hinske. Eric, as you all know, is a former Jay who the Rookie of the Year award 2002, signed a 5 year contract and then never really became the player we hoped he'd be. Anyway Richard jumps through hoops trying to make it all a 'fire J.P.' story.
Since that date, the Bronx Bombers have gone 43-16, assuming command of the division by 7 1/2 games. Hinske is a role player, but consider that if the Yanks reach the World Series this fall, it will be Hinske's third straight trip to the Fall Classic with three different teams. But he wasn't good enough for the Jays when they dumped him in August '06 to Boston for a player to be named later.
Yeah Richard, Eric's 56 at bats is what has turned the season around for the Yankees. I mean, yeah it's been a pretty good 56 at bats. He's hit .250, but does have 7 homers. He knows how to get a ball up in that breeze to right field at Yankee Stadium. He did play in 15 games in August, some in the outfield, more as a pinch hitter or pinch runner or defensive replacement. I can understand how he's turned things around for the Yankees.
Did he feel they gave up on him?
"No, I never lived up to my first year," Hinske said prior to last night's game. "They had a chance to bring in Corey Koskie and they lost (Carlos) Delgado, so I just moved to first (base).
"They gave me a chance. I have no hard feelings towards Toronto or (general manager) J.P. (Ricciardi). They gave me a chance, let me play, gave me a five-year contract, started my career.
Eric seems to understand what happened in Toronto. Nice to see a player that self aware.
As for any feelings that the Jays had given up on him, he denies it.
"You've always got to believe you're capable of performing," Hinske said. "I never, ever doubted myself.
"I'd like to play every day, but I like playing for the Yankees too. I think I fit well in this team as a bench guy.
Second time he has to tell us that Eric doesn't feel the Jays gave up in him in a 500 word piece. I can just see it. "But Eric, did they give up on you?" "Didn't you ask that a minute ago". "Come on base JP for me".
And yeah of course they gave up on him, he didn't become the player they thought he'd be so they got in other players and traded him away. That's baseball.
Here is the money line:
"Right now I have eight years in and it's all about service time, just hanging around, so I'll do whatever they ask."
So Eric the Yankee is saying he's hanging around to get the pension. I can understand it, why wouldn't you 'hang around', you can earn a pretty good living even as a bench player in the major leagues. It is not a bad life.
Now remember, Eric Hinske, the Yankee player, said he is hanging around to get the service time. Here is how Griffin sums up the piece:
Perhaps in the big picture, that's what's been wrong with the Jays' clubhouse under Ricciardi.
Perhaps the feeling has been too much "about service time, just hanging around" and not enough about winning a World Series.
Richard, at the top of the piece you told us how Eric Hinske and his 56 at bats have turned the season around for the Yankees. You complain that JP gave up on him. And then you tell us that the players just 'hanging around' is the problem with the Jays. Even though the player saying that JP 'give up on' and is now going to the playoffs with the Yankees.
Now I can't believe that Griffin doesn't know what he did there. He's not a fool. But then he knows his readers. He knows as along as he bashes JP, they won't notice any leap of logic. And yes, in the comments he has folks saying 'yeah that's the problem with the Jays'. 'No wonder Doc wants to leave' the guy the Jays traded years ago who said he is now hanging around for service time with the Yankees is the reason Doc wants to leave.
There are lots of reasons why JP should go. Getting rid of Hinske isn't one of them. That Hinske said he was hanging around should stand as a reason to send him away, if you really think Eric meant that. More likely it was a poorly formed thought. If a Jay player said that, Griffin would be all over JP saying 'this is the kind of player he keeps'. Unfortunately he could only get a former Jay to say it but he still tries his best to tar JP with it.
So which is it Richard, is JP a fool for giving up on Eric or is he smart for getting rid of a player that only wants service time?