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Cardinals exercise option on Jaime Garcia; decline options on Matt Holliday, Jordan Walden

The left-hander will return to St. Louis instead of hitting the open market.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: St. Louis will officially decline its options on Holliday and Walden, a source confirmed Thursday afternoon.

ORIGINAL: The Cardinals will exercise their $12 million club option on left-hander Jaime Garcia, as reported by Jenifer Langosch of Garcia’s deal included a $500k buyout if the option was declined.

St. Louis was said to be considering both avenues for Garcia, but ultimately decided to keep the southpaw instead of exploring rotation options in a weak free-agent class. Garcia will re-join Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake, Alex Reyes, Michael Wacha and a rehabbing Lance Lynn in a talented rotation mix for the Cards.

Garcia, 30, posted a 10-13 record and 4.67 ERA in 171.2 innings for St. Louis last year and has been a key part of the club’s rotation since 2010. He posted a 2.43 ERA in 20 starts in 2015 after missing significant time in 2013 and 2014 due to injury.

Garcia is expected to be the only Cardinal to have his option picked up; outfielder Matt Holliday and reliever Jordan Walden are expected to have their options declined.