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12/04/12 10:00 PM ET
D-backs add Hinske during busy day at Meetings
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The D-backs were at the center of some big rumors during the Winter Meetings on Tuesday, but the evening hit with the only actual news being a deal with veteran free agent Eric Hinske. Hinske, who fills the D-backs' need for a left-handed-hitting backup corner infielder, still must pass a physical before the deal becomes official. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said that Hinske would primarily be used as a pinch-hitter and occasional starter at first base. In a pinch, the 35-year-old could also play third base and a little outfield. Hinske has played for six teams in his 11 years in the big leagues and has been a bit of a lucky charm, appearing in the postseason five times, including three straight World Series from 2007-09. "We were not very good in late-and-close leverage situations," Gibson said of his 2012 squad. "And I think as you analyze that, that's a lot of mentality involved in that, and you have to develop a certain approach in those situations and trust it, and I've watched [Hinske] over his career, and I think he's a guy who can help us as a team." While not naming names, general manager Kevin Towers said the D-backs have made contract offers to multiple free agents. One position Towers does expect to filled by the time the Winter Meetings end this week is backup catcher, and the club has made an offer to Rod Barajas. Barajas, who appeared in 104 games for the Pirates in 2012, broke into the big leagues with the D-backs in 1999 and appeared in 211 games with Arizona before joining Texas after the 2003 season. With starting backstop Miguel Montero expected to catch 130-135 games, there will be few at-bats for his backup. The D-backs did meet with the Reds on Tuesday, and Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty said that he talked about outfielders with the D-backs. "We've had some discussions," Jocketty said. "We don't see a match ... yet." Jocketty did not specify which outfielders he and Towers discussed, but the Reds' interest more likely lies with Jason Kubel than Justin Upton. "I've got a good relationship with Walt," Towers said. "I wouldn't say there's anything close with the Reds. They've got players we like, and we've got players they like." Upton was once again mentioned prominently in rumors. The one that drew the most attention was that the Phillies were working on a deal for him that would send left-hander Cliff Lee to the D-backs. Minutes after the rumor hit the Twitterverse, it was denied by both teams. Even Gibson, who does not get into commenting on rumors, emphatically said that no such deal had been discussed. While the Mariners and D-backs reportedly met Monday night with Seattle interested in Upton, the teams do not appear to be a match in a deal. Seattle does have shortstop prospect Nick Franklin, but the D-backs are not interested in him in an Upton deal, so at least one other team would need to get involved to make it work. "I think there's some direct fits with clubs," Towers said about trades in general. "There are a lot of talks with multi-team deals that are going on involving us. I would always much rather deal directly than indirectly, but sometimes there are teams whose strength is your strength. It's not the way I like to do it. Some clubs and GMs enjoy that. You get four or five or six teams in there, it's not quite as easy. It actually creates problems and issues. It kind of muddies the waters." While the D-backs would entertain trading Upton or Kubel, it is highly unlikely they would deal both. "The only way we've discussed Justin or Kubel is really addressing another area of need," Towers said. "If it's a front-of-the-rotation starter, a shortstop. If we're going to do something, it'll be a deal where our club is going to be better. We're not looking to add prospects to our system. We're not rebuilding. Any deal that we do is really with a focus on the 2013 club being better." Towers was slated to meet Tuesday night with an agent for one of his current players about a contract extension. It's not known which player that is, but Towers has previously said the club was interested in exploring extensions with closer J.J. Putz, second baseman Aaron Hill and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.