Given the "cash considerations" included in the deal, the Pirates will essentially pay Hinske's salary for the remainder of the year (approx. $800,000). (You read that right, by the way. The Pirates utility backup will be payed by the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second half of the season.)
In return, the Yankees send to the Pirates a couple of minor leaguers: Casey Erickson (right handed pitcher) and Eric Fryer (outfielder/catcher). Neither is considered a prospect in the Yankees system, though Erickson is said to have some potential.
What does this mean for the Yanks? Mostly, it's an acknowledgement that more likely than not, Xavier Nady will never suit up in pinstripes again. Not long ago the Yanks starting righfielder, star 2008 acquisition, and all-around fan favorite (also acquired from the Pirates), announced over the weekend that he would elect for Tommy John surgery, effectively ending his season. Nady was on rehab in Newark when something happened during a weekend start (reports are unspecific) that told him surgery was the only option.
The Yanks were also dealing with the realization that Ramiro Pena was not a backup option they wanted to go to down the stretch. The 23 year old utility man was hitting .267 in 86 at bats, with a paltry .308 OBP. The Yankees sent him down to Scranton and plan on getting him time in the outfield, hoping that may make a late-season call-up more practical.
So, from what we can piece together, the Yankees are going to be looking to Eric Hinske as a principal utility backup. Word is they think he might see some time at third, first, and right field. Personally, I'd be pretty surprised if they put him in the hot corner, but with the new plan to give A-Rod a day off every week, you never know. But they want to get him at bats, and every time you think Nick Swisher might cool off, he starts to get hot again and force the issue in right.
All in all, a smart move for a contender. I don't think Hinske will do much for them in the infield, but I'll bet he gets at least a couple big hits against the Sox or the Rays. He just seems to be that type of guy.