The Atlanta Braves have exercised pinch-hitter/outfielder/first baseman Eric Hinske's $1.5 million club option and declined outfielder Nate McLouth's $10.65 million club option for 2012, the club announced via Twitter. Instead, the team will pay McLouth's parting fee, a $1.25 million buyout.
Hinske, 34, will rejoin the Braves for a third straight year. He hit .233/.311/.403 with 10 homers and 10 doubles in 264 plate appearances. 68 of the 264 plate appearances came in pinch-hit duties, where Hinske hit .197/.279/.361 with 3 homers.
As expected, the Braves declined their $10.65 million club option for Nate McLouth. The 30-year-old greatly underachieved after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hit .228/.344/.333 last year in 321 plate appearances, with 16 extra base hits (4 homers) last season. The year before that, McLouth hit .190/.298/.322 in 288 plate appearances, a career worst season.
I wouldn't expect the Braves to bring back McLouth on a cheaper deal. The outfielder is already crowded with Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, Jason Heyward. McLouth isn't known for his defense either, a career -50.9 UZR in the outfield.