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hinske-returns-diaz-nontendered | December | 2010 Articles

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Hinske Returns, Diaz Nontendered

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Hey look, some actual news! It broke early this afternoon that Eric Hinske will be returning to the Braves in 2011, agreeing to a one year deal with an option for 2012. The deal is also loaded with incentives based on playing time. No word on the financials involved yet, or what type of option it is. But, the signing itself is a huge deal. Hinske was one of the best pinch hitters in the league last season, ranking second among all hitters with at least 25 plate appearances with a .985 OPS and 3 homers. Hinske won't kill you if he has to get more at bats either, as he's capable of playing (though not terribly well) first base, third base, and left field. I'd expect him to get a start or two a week to spell Freddie Freeman at first base, or in left field when Martin Prado is taking over at third for Chipper. Hinske only made $1 million last year, so this deal won't break the bank regardless of how much its for. This is a huge boost for the Braves bench, which needed a boost after losing Omar Infante in the Dan Uggla trade.

Now, some bad news. Arbitration eligible outfielder Matt Diaz was not offered a contract by the Braves, ending his tenure with the team. Diaz was a platoon player who absolutely killed lefties, and this team has no need for a platoon player like Diaz since they have an every day left fielder now in Martin Prado. Diaz would get very little playing time, and with Hinske coming back into the fold, it would be even less, probably not even a start a week. He'd be a pinch hit option against a lefty, and really nothing more. He can only really play left field, and the Braves don't need someone that limited on the bench. Emotionally, its tough to say goodbye to someone like Diaz, who always left his heart on the field and had plenty of big hits for the Braves in his career, but now was the time. Best of luck Matt, you'll be missed.

The rest of the Braves arbitration eligible players were tendered contracts. Those players are Martin Prado, Eric O'Flaherty, Peter Moylan, Dan Uggla, and Jair Jurrjens. O'Flaherty's job became safe when Mike Dunn was traded, and he'll be the prime LOOGY for the team in 2011. Prado is the every day left fielder, and will probably get a nice raise in arbitration. Jurrjens was also a no brainer, despite his down season in 2010. He won't be traded this year, but as I mentioned in the Season in Review piece I did last week, I personally think he could be trade bait after 2011. Uggla was a no brainer, considering the team just traded for him and is looking to sign him to an extension. As for Moylan, I was on the fence on whether or not he'd be brought back. He turns 32 today, and has had major arm surgery. His numbers dipped across the board last year, but he was still an effective reliever. I guess the Braves wanted to go with the sure thing instead of throwing a guy like Cory Gearrin right onto the main roster and into a prime bullpen role.

UPDATE: Hinske is getting $1.45 million, and the 2012 option is a club option. Nice.

UPDATE 2: Its actually $1.35 million for the first year, and the option is for $1.5 million with a $100K buyout. Well done

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