MLB news roundup: Phillies and Blue Jays trade, Granderson meets the Mets

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

News and notes from around the MLB.

Phillies receive Lincoln from Jays

The Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday acquired reliever Brad Lincoln from the Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Eri Kratz and pitcher Rob Rasmussen.

Lincoln, 28, pitched in 22 games for the Blue Jays in 2013, compiling a 3.98 ERA and 1.58 WHIP while walking a whopping 6.3 batters per nine innings despite never really having command issues earlier in his career. He also came on in relief in 23 games for Triple-A Buffalo, posting a 2.05 ERA. It was his first year working full time as a relief pitcher, having spent the rest of his career mostly as a starter. Over parts of four major league seasons, Lincoln has a 4.66 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 220 innings.

Kratz has been the Phillies' backup catcher the past two seasons. He has not been particularly proficient at getting on base, but has shown some pop at the plate with 18 home runs over 129 games between 2012-13. The Blue Jays recently signed Dioner Navarro and also have Josh Thole on the roster, so it is unclear what Kratz's role will be. Rasmussen is a career minor league pitcher who reached Triple-A for the first time in 2013 and posted a 6.46 ERA as a 24-year-old.

Mets meet with Granderson

The New York Mets met with Curtis Granderson Sunday to discuss what the outfielder was looking for in free agency, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The Mets have been rumored to be in on a number of outfielders in free agency as they hope to improve an outfield that ranked dead last in the NL with a .685 OPS. Furthermore, New York has wanted to add some pop to their lineup. Marlon Byrd was the only Met to eclipse 20 home runs in 2013, and he was traded mid-season to the Pirates. David Wright was the only other player to hit more than 15 long balls.

Granderson could certainly help in that department while also bringing solid defense to Queens. He eclipsed 40 home runs in both 2011 and 2012 before missing two-thirds of the 2013 season due to several injuries. Granderson would not have to go far in free agency if he signed with the Mets: He has spent the last four years across town with the Yankees. He turned down a qualifying offer from the Yankees, so signing him would cost a draft pick. For the Mets, that would be a second rounder as they fall within the first ten picks of the 2014 draft and thus are protected from losing their first round selection.

The Mets have shown interest in a variety of players, from Granderson to Shin-Soo Choo to Corey Hart. Granderson would not be quite so expensive as Choo, but would still require a significant deal in all likelihood.

It sounds like Granderson thought the meeting went well:

Phillies sign Nieves

Fresh off of trading away Eric Kratz, the Phillies signed catcher Wil Nieves to a deal, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

The Phillies also have Cameron Rupp on the roster in addition to starting backstop Carlos Ruiz, so Nieves is not being handed the backup catching job. However, he could compete for the position with Rupp in spring training. Rupp has just a very brief stint in the majors on his resumé, while Nieves is a 10-year veteran.

Nieves, 36, most recently spent time with the Diamondbacks, appearing in 71 games for Arizona in 2013. He hit .297/.320/.369 in that time, which is well above his career .242/.283/.314 batting line. Nieves is not known for his strong hitting ability, though he is a good defensive player.

Hinske to be Cubs 1B Coach

The Chicago Cubs have hired Eric Hinske as their new first base coach, the team announced Tuesday.

Hinske was originally drafted by the Cubs in the 17th round of the 1998 draft, though he never reached the majors with the team. He did spend three years in their farm system before being traded to the Athletics for Miguel Cairo. Hinske would go on to have a successful major league career while spending time with seven different teams. He appeared in 52 games for the Diamondbacks in 2013 before being designated for assignment.

This will, of course, be Hinske's first coaching job at any level of professional baseball. He is the final cog in new manager Rick Renteria's coaching staff that will also consist of bench coach Brandon Hyde, third base coach Gary Jones, hitting coach Bill Mueller and assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley, along with holdovers Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Lester Strode (bullpen coach), Franklin Font (staff assistant) and Mike Borzello (catching coach).

Hillman to rejoin Yankees

The Yankees have hired Trey Hillman in a developmental/consultant role, reports Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.

Hillman worked as a minor league manager for New York for 11 years from 1990-2001 before leaving the organization to become director of player development for the Rangers. After one year in Texas, he left for a managerial position in Japan. He finally received his first break as an MLB manager with the Royals in 2008. He was fired from the position mid-2010 and was named the bench coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers under Don Mattingly later that year. He was let go from that position in October.

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