Braves Pass on McLouth, Bring Hinske Back for 2012

In the background of the big news that the Atlanta Braves traded Derek Lowe on Monday, the Braves made two other significant moves, although expected moves.

First of all, they exercised the option of Eric Hinske. He was a valuable piece to the Braves in 2010. He, like many other Braves’ hitters, struggled in 2011. Look at the differences between the two seasons:

Year G PA AB R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
1998 74 315 268 54 83 10 61 40 67 .310 .397 .511 .908 137
1999 134 534 460 79 136 20 81 63 94 .296 .383 .517 .900 238
2000 131 520 436 76 113 20 73 78 133 .259 .373 .486 .859 212
2001 121 504 436 71 123 25 79 54 113 .282 .373 .521 .893 227
2003 2 8 8 2 4 1 2 0 0 .500 .500 1.000 1.500 8
2010 131 320 281 38 72 11 51 33 75 .256 .338 .456 .793 128
2011 117 264 236 24 55 10 28 26 71 .233 .311 .403 .713 95
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/31/2011.

Hinske is still a valuable piece for the Braves. He is a well-liked player and he is about as clutch a pinch-hitter as the Braves have had in a while. His option for 2012 is only $1.5 million, so for that price, he is a value.

The Braves also declined the option on Nate McLouth. As with Lowe and Kawakami, the Braves don’t have to worry with his ineffectiveness any longer. They will pay McLouth a buyout of $1.25 million. McLouth missed most of 2011 due to injury. The Braves utilized Jordan Schaefer, then traded for Michael Bourn to alleviate the need to depend on McLouth any further.

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