Braves pick up option on Hinske – updated

The Braves made it official Monday, announcing they were picking up Eric Hinske’s $1.5 million option for 2012, but the veteran utility man had actually known for more than a week.

Braves general manager Frank Wren texted a group of Braves’ veteran hitters about hiring hitting coach Greg Walker Oct. 21, prompting Hinske to text back: “Does that mean you’re picking up my option?”

Wren’s response: “Do you want us to?”

The response was something along the lines of “heck yes.” For the first time in five offseasons, Hinske knows where he’s headed before the holidays arrive. It was peace of mind for a popular member of the Braves clubhouse and anchor of their bench, who returns to Atlanta for a third straight season.

“I’m excited,” Hinske said from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. Monday morning. “I really wanted to come back…The way the season ended last year I feel like we’ve got something to show people. We want to get back to the playoffs and get back to the World Series.”

Hinske signed a one-year deal with the Braves last December worth $1.35 million, which included a $1.5 million option for 2012.

As expected, the Braves declined Nate McLouth’s $10.65 million option and will buy him out for $1.25 million. McLouth hit only .229 with 21 home runs and 76 RBIs in 250 games in the past two-plus seasons since coming from the Pirates in a trade for outfield prospect Gorkys Hernandez, pitching prospects Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke.

Hinske, 34, hit .233 with 10 home runs and 28 RBIs in 236 at-bats last season while playing first base, left and right field. His 10 home runs were tied for third among National League batters with 240 at-bats or fewer.

“This is the toughest job in baseball,” Wren said. “They’re going to have up and down seasons but we still think ‘Ske is a threat and he’s such a great teammate. He makes an impact both on and off the field, and that’s important.”

Hinske has 21 homers in the past two years with the Braves, including five pinch-hit home runs, which ties him for fifth-most in franchise history. He takes pride in hitting double-digits in home runs but the career .252 hitter was disappointed average-wise.

“I didn’t feel like I played as well as I could have down the stretch last year,” Hinske said. “I’m sure a lot of players on our team will say the same.”

Hinske has emerged as a team leader in the Braves clubhouse and that’s a role he cherishes.

“All these guys are my good friends, and I want to go out there and battle with them,” Hinske said. “I don’t want to be with any other team. I want to be with the Atlanta Braves. I want to play with Brian McCann and Chipper Jones and David Ross and Dan Uggla. These guys are my boys.”

89 comments Add your comment

eskippy

October 31st, 2011
12:05 pm

HLP

October 31st, 2011
12:14 pm

YAY! Go Hinske!

1957 Braves Fan

October 31st, 2011
12:25 pm

Great to have Hinske back for another year.

Brandon

October 31st, 2011
12:26 pm

Bring back McLouth!!! Lol

wayxdog

October 31st, 2011
12:33 pm

I tip my hat to mediocre baseball.

ASHEVILLE DAWG

October 31st, 2011
12:35 pm

Hinske off the bench could be one of several keys to the Braves future next year. Nice to know the Braves recognize that.

Roja

October 31st, 2011
12:36 pm

Roja

October 31st, 2011
12:36 pm

Make that SEVENTH!!!

Roja

October 31st, 2011
12:38 pm

Speaking of mediocre sports, “how ’bout them dawgs” squeeking by the lowly, totally UNRANKED Gators!

Roja

October 31st, 2011
12:39 pm

I luv Hinske but here’s hoping that they will just decline the options on those antiquities in the bullpen.

GOBRAVES

October 31st, 2011
12:40 pm

Roja – This is the Braves Blog, idiot!

northbeach Scott

October 31st, 2011
12:42 pm

Good bye Nate, do not let the door hit you on the way out. Welcome back Eric. Let’s see if Frank Wren can do his magic and make Derek Lowe disappear.

Chris

October 31st, 2011
12:42 pm

Bring the entire roster back so another team can enjoy the collapse of the Braves the same way my Cardinals did…

dap01

October 31st, 2011
12:42 pm

Come on Frank, please work to IMPROVE our team. Get a real outfielder, get bullpen help, strenghten the SS position.

Jch

October 31st, 2011
12:48 pm

Lowe to Indians!!!!

Jch

October 31st, 2011
12:49 pm

Scott – ask and though shall receive…

MLBtraderumors reporting Lowe to Indians

59bulldawg

October 31st, 2011
12:50 pm

I like Hinske! Glad he’s coming back!

YAY

October 31st, 2011
12:52 pm

THANK GOD

NO MORE LOWE

YOUR PROBLEM NOW, CLEVELAND. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

phil

October 31st, 2011
12:56 pm

I hope that’s correct on Lowe….

I like Heavy Hinske. Good to have him around another year, but hopefully only off the bench primarily.

As for Nate, for the right price – a mil – I’m happy to keep him too. He could help us, if healthy and not required to try and carry a load of some kind.

Fire FG…

sleeze

October 31st, 2011
12:56 pm

Wren pulls off another miracle. Finding some other team stupid enough to take Lowe.. without us having to pay THEM..

phil

October 31st, 2011
12:57 pm

And LaRussa is retiring….that surprises me.

Fire FG…

01HAWK

October 31st, 2011
12:57 pm

Indians Acquire Derek Lowe

By Tim Dierkes [October 31, 2011 at 11:38am CST]

We have our first trade of the 2011-12 offseason! The Indians acquired Derek Lowe from the Braves, tweets John Kreger. The Braves will pay all but $5MM of Lowe’s $15MM salary, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Olney says the Braves will receive a second-line player in return.

Lowe, 38, posted a 5.05 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.67 HR/9, and 59% groundball rate in 187 innings this year for Atlanta. Lowe’s Braves career ended on a sour note, as his 8.75 September ERA contributed to their collapse. Still, his groundball rate ranked second in all of baseball. Lowe signed a four-year, $60MM deal with the Braves in January of 2009.

With Lowe, Justin Masterson, and Fausto Carmona, the Indians’ rotation now has three of the top seven in 2011 groundball rate. Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Tomlin are also penciled in, with Carlos Carrasco down for Tommy John surgery.

For the Braves, the benefit is $5MM in much-needed salary relief for a pitcher otherwise projected for middle relief on their 2012 club. The Braves and Indians last matched up on a trade in July of 2006, when the Tribe sent reliever Bob Wickman to Atlanta for Max Ramirez.

phil

October 31st, 2011
12:57 pm

Traderumors? That hardly sounds like a done deal….

atl29fan

October 31st, 2011
12:58 pm

I don’t care if we got a bag of balls to be named later. Good deal.

phil

October 31st, 2011
12:59 pm

Looks like it IS done at a 5 million dollar savings to the club. Good move before he did something else stupid, like get another DUI that has to be fixed….

timboy6

October 31st, 2011
1:00 pm

Glad to see Diesel is going to be back!

JoeDawg

October 31st, 2011
1:00 pm

GREAT!!!! This trade will positively absolutely do nothing to get us over the hump next year. A perrenial 230 hitter. Fantastic, can’t wait to watch again.

JoeDawg

October 31st, 2011
1:01 pm

And how much is 1- MIllion??? SOunds liek we are paying Cleveland to take Lowe.

Beck

October 31st, 2011
1:02 pm

Looks like it is true – Buster Olney is reporting the same as well.

Buzz Me

October 31st, 2011
1:05 pm

Great move. Hinske is a great clubhouse team guy and comes thru when needed. We need him around.

Spud

October 31st, 2011
1:07 pm

Good news indeed! Hinske is a bargain.

david

October 31st, 2011
1:15 pm

how about kawacrappy?….isn’t he gone too?

Linebrinks Security

October 31st, 2011
1:20 pm

FWren: Hey Ske was wondering what u thought of our pickup of Greg Walker 4 hitting coach?
ESke: ?
ESke: Is this subtlety? Does that mean I’m coming back next year?
FWren: No, you’re not. I was just wondering what u thought of the guy
ESke: ………

yeah I guess it would have been mean if Frank had done it that way instead of the way he did it

MIke S

October 31st, 2011
1:20 pm

HInske coming back. Lowe and McClouth gone! This is a great MOnday so far!

question

October 31st, 2011
1:21 pm

Where will the McLouth and Kawakami money be spent this year? That’s a significant chunk of change.

LAG

October 31st, 2011
1:23 pm

Hinske’s average always dips when he has to play long stretches while a starter’s hurt. Let’s hope Freddie and whoever plays LF can stay healthy so ‘Ski can stay fresh.

Darnell

October 31st, 2011
1:23 pm

Derek Lowe………………..Out the door………………………….Whooooooopeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Marlow29

October 31st, 2011
1:23 pm

First!

Braves Traded Lowe, can’t wait to read about that one….

Hank A.

October 31st, 2011
1:26 pm

So we have the McLouth, Kawakami, and Gonzalez contracts expiring AND we are getting $5 million back in Lowe’s contract. That’s approximately $20 million dollars to spend. Where will this money be spent?

Hank A.

October 31st, 2011
1:27 pm

other than signing a shortstop to a one or two year deal (which might be Gonzo)

submariner

October 31st, 2011
1:27 pm

Indians Acquire Derek Lowe
By Tim Dierkes [October 31, 2011 at 11:38am CST]
We have our first trade of the 2011-12 offseason! The Indians acquired Derek Lowe from the Braves, tweets John Kreger. The Braves will pay all but $5MM of Lowe’s $15MM salary, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Olney says the Braves will receive 23-year-old High-A lefty reliever Chris Jones in return for Lowe. Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein provides a quick scouting report.

Lowe, 38, posted a 5.05 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.67 HR/9, and 59% groundball rate in 187 innings this year for Atlanta. Lowe’s Braves career ended on a sour note, as his 8.75 September ERA contributed to their collapse. Still, his groundball rate ranked second in all of baseball. Lowe signed a four-year, $60MM deal with the Braves in January of 2009.

With Lowe, Justin Masterson, and Fausto Carmona, the Indians’ rotation now has three of MLB’s top seven in 2011 groundball rate. Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Tomlin are also penciled in, with Carlos Carrasco down for Tommy John surgery.

For the Braves, the benefit is $5MM in much-needed salary relief for a pitcher otherwise projected for middle relief on their 2012 club. The Braves and Indians last matched up on a trade in July of 2006, when the Tribe sent reliever Bob Wickman to Atlanta for Max Ramirez.

hmmmmmmmmmm

October 31st, 2011
1:28 pm

Wren not wasting any time….nice

Glory be

October 31st, 2011
1:29 pm

They got rid of two cancers (McLousy and DUI Lowe) in the same day!

Spud

October 31st, 2011
1:33 pm

Bob Wickman, a.k.a Mr. Attitude. There’s a forgettable trade.

Roja

October 31st, 2011
1:37 pm

Sorry, I thought I was on the Tech blog..Now I have to go to cla….

Ouch I just got mugged!!! for the third time this yr!!!

Maybe I should worry about getting to class alive instead of expounding on my case of “dawg-envy”

Mark (another one)

October 31st, 2011
1:38 pm

Sounds like some good moves by the front office. I didn’t see Lowe as a middle relief pitcher, so the trade will allow him to fight for a starting spot on an AL team, and free up $5 mil. Add that to the savings from KK and McLouth, and the Braves have some salary room.

Hinske to me was a no brainer, but teams have to go through their processes or assessing each individual last year and making decisions. So, we opened a spot in the starting rotation, we already have a replacement in CF, and we opened a spot in AA Mississippi, while saving what, (5 + 9.4 + 8) $22.4 mil.

Mark (another one)

October 31st, 2011
1:39 pm

Sorry about the emoticon. I was trying to estimate KK’s salary at 8 million with a ‘)’.

bravesfansince1961

October 31st, 2011
1:48 pm

Oh heck; getting rid of KK’s PERKS will save several hundred thousand alone. And KK seems the perfect nickname as he only seemed to strike out 2 while in Atlanta.

Balouun

October 31st, 2011
1:48 pm

Always good to be reminded of that Bob Wickman deal..

Kurtis

October 31st, 2011
1:50 pm

Eric Hinske….the Doug Heffernan of our Atlanta Braves!! Glad he’s back!!

Peter

October 31st, 2011
1:51 pm

use the money to sign C.J. Wilson.

KK

October 31st, 2011
2:10 pm

Now that Lowe is gone The Braves need KK

LawDawg

October 31st, 2011
2:17 pm

Mitchell

October 31st, 2011
2:19 pm

Hate to say it but our boy Hinske wasn’t a whole heckuva lot better than Brooks Conrad this past season.

Let’s face it, neither came especially close to matching their 2010 performances.

Hell, I bet he wishes he had signed with the Brewers when he had the chance.

alex

October 31st, 2011
2:28 pm

Like diesel,just not happy we’ve signed another 230 hitter,…..hwere is lobo(trial date set for 2012….)

Casey

October 31st, 2011
2:31 pm

Lowe will probably win the Cy Young next year! lol

Casey

October 31st, 2011
2:31 pm

And I forgot McLouth was even on the team..

oldmike

October 31st, 2011
2:56 pm

@Peter- CJ Wilson is not the answer. We need a bat and speed far more than we need another overpriced on the downside FA pitcher.

benchwarmer

October 31st, 2011
3:18 pm

Farewell McOut! That was a total disaster while he lasted.

bobbymahlon

October 31st, 2011
3:20 pm

Glad to see Eric is coming back.

Bravesbobblehead

October 31st, 2011
3:49 pm

Hinske is da MAN!!! We need his bat and leadership.

Elmer

October 31st, 2011
4:00 pm

Get an outfielder with some pop.

duronimo

October 31st, 2011
4:21 pm

McLouth had a good year in Pittsburgh and turned it into millions. The general mangers and owners never learn. The quarterback in Buffalo has turned a handful of good games into a brand new 65 million dollar deal in the middle of the season. It’s stupid. One year contracts based on the prior year’s performance is the only fair way to compensate athletes.

Randal Patrick McMurphy

October 31st, 2011
4:28 pm

Welcome back the Diesel!!! His bat and leadership is HUGE in that dugout!

Ralph

October 31st, 2011
4:41 pm

If the braves had played Hinskie in right field everyday the past season they would have been in the playoffs for sure.

MoreIsLess

October 31st, 2011
4:55 pm

Good deal. I like Hinske. He’s good in the clutch.

Chilidawg

October 31st, 2011
5:10 pm

I’m glad he’s back. Eric sounds like a good guy to have as a friend or neighbor. Excuse me, is this the blog for the “Ellen Show” ?

bw

October 31st, 2011
6:17 pm

Conrad needs to go!

Greg Walker was at Coffee HS & Colquitt Co football game Friday night. They interviewed him on locale radio…He told about Wren’s and JS’s new hitting ideas- program and how excited he was to be a part of Braves . There goal To win another World Series. That sounds good..he was also talking to the fans sign autographs..Very nice guy.

Rufus

October 31st, 2011
7:09 pm

need to use money to help sign bourn to a long term deal

T_plunk

October 31st, 2011
7:27 pm

For everyone asking: all $$$ from expiring (or exported) contracts will certainly go toward pay raises of current players (mccann, prado, heyward… etc.)

bw

October 31st, 2011
8:00 pm

Yes, sign Bourn for 4 or 5 years……

vermont 39

October 31st, 2011
8:13 pm

Good call !!!
We like Eric Hinske!!!

asa

October 31st, 2011
8:30 pm

thank god and greyhound mcclouth is gone one if the worst things braves have done since being in atlanta

Jordan

October 31st, 2011
9:02 pm

invictus mon

October 31st, 2011
10:34 pm

Totally stoked we got back Henske. The man loves this city and this team. We’re going to need that to regain our morale to go on another campaign next year. Wren’s got a plan, looking forward to seeing it executed. Loving the salary cap room we’ve got, let’s go on a spending spree and not put it all in one place! Remember your lesson from Prado (in the commercial), diversification is key!

Ken Stallings

October 31st, 2011
10:52 pm

Good move!

Now, let’s get rid of Nate McLouth!

Mike Mike Mike

October 31st, 2011
11:04 pm

i feel like if the braves decided to never trade anyone about 5 years ago, give or take a little, then we would prob have the best team in baseball. saying that, i hated lowe… i hated him before the braves, and i hated it more that he killed the braves the past two season. if we pull him from the playoffs two season ago, then we win, giants prob never win world series. never put him in a game in the 2011 season, we go to playoff easy, no cards winning the world series… its extremely weird how lowe by himself, could have made a difference in the world series

Ken Stallings

October 31st, 2011
11:18 pm

Should have done more than gloss the article! My mistake!

Nate was released with the buyout — great move!

Now the Braves have at least $15 million to sign a left fielder and contribute to trying to sign Michael Bourne to a new contract before he turns free agent, and based on the lack of outfield prospects in the Braves farm system, trying to sign Bourne to a contract extension should be a priority.

Alex Gonzalez is a bit of a difficult question. He’s a great glove but only a serviceable bat. The Braves have a nice short stop prospect on the farm.

I would like to see Alex signed to a one-year contract but I wonder if that would be acceptable to him.

Rick

November 1st, 2011
12:30 am

Brown Noser!

BravesFanSince80's

November 1st, 2011
12:48 am

some have said that we won’t have as much money as we think after arbitration raises, so we may not be able to make much of a splash without a trade of some kind, hope Hinske gets a chance to shine in the postseason once more next season…

BravesFanSince80's

November 1st, 2011
12:49 am

Mr. Stallings: no more Alex Gonzalez please, please……PLEASE!!!!!!!

Notso Fast

November 1st, 2011
2:34 am

These are moves that had to be made. The Braves need some new blood to build on. Next season with the same players would have the same results as this year. They have to start bring up some younger players and make a few trades if we are to compete next year,

BravesFanSince80's

November 1st, 2011
7:11 am

I’m not sold on the idea of signing Bourne to a long-term contract, we’ll have to shell out a lot to do that and he’s a little too old for that given his style of play, it’s a risky move like any long-term contract is bound to be, but especially so, because Bourne as he ages and loses a step probably becomes a very different player (everday player vs bench player) because he hits for no power, and relies VERY heavily on his speed, an aspect of anyone’s game which will inevitably go downhill the further one gets from 30. He’s just a LITTLE too old for me to risk a five year deal on given his playing style for me (even though I’m a huge fan of speed in and of itself). I just wish here more like 25 right now and we were thinking of signing him for five years, then I say go ahead and pay the man!

BravesFanSince80's

November 1st, 2011
7:12 am

sorry, he were*

bill

November 1st, 2011
8:55 am

David Justice was a n ahole in the clubhouse but it was his homerun that got us over the hump in the 95 world series. Winning takes care of everything.

bill

November 1st, 2011
9:05 am

Hinske is a no advantage no hurt guy. Francouer loved the Braves and the city and all that blah blah blah I will take a Larry Walker or a Dave Justice who can win for us. Who cares if he is popular. How nice do you think these bg time players are?

Stephen Mock

November 1st, 2011
10:34 am

I am glad Hinske is coming back. I wish he would have spot started a bit more. One thing Bobby was good at was keeping his bench guys ready with plenty of at bats. Hinkse had about 50 fewer at bats this year which probably hurt his average.

Paddy

November 2nd, 2011
7:01 am

Stephen Mock…….good point about Hinkse’s ab’s.

guy

November 2nd, 2011
10:45 am

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