The Atlanta Braves will decline Billy Hamilton’s option as expected. Hamilton was clutch for Atlanta down the stretch of the season but his $7.5-million dollar option shouldn’t have been considered.
Billy Hamilton was solid during his time with the Atlanta Braves. However, he is a limited player who brings value only in his defense and his speed. A team cannot build a World Series caliber roster while paying a player like Hamilton $7.5-million.
Instead, Atlanta will buy out Hamilton and look at the free-agent market. They need an outfielder and could circle back around to Hamilton if they run out of options.
During his time with Atlanta, Hamilton hit .268 with 4-stolen bases during his time with the Braves. An injury to Ender Inciarte forced him into the starting lineup and offered him a chance to play an impact role for a postseason team.
While he was productive Atlanta can find better options on the free-agent market. Using a 25-man roster spot for a player whose only weapon is speed isn’t the best option.
Atlanta will have two outfield spots filled coming into next season with Ender Inciarte and Ronald Acuna Jr. locked in at their positions. Finding a third and fourth outfielder will be high on Atlanta’s priority list.
Bringing back Matt Joyce or Nick Markakis as the fourth outfielder would be a great move for Atlanta. However, bringing them both back isn’t an option. Atlanta needs a younger option who can at the very least platoon with Joyce or Markakis.
Billy Hamilton isn’t a platoon option for a team that focuses on building a prolific offense. Instead, they need to focus on bringing back third baseman Josh Donaldson and a capable left fielder.
Hamilton’s time with Atlanta was a success but all good things must come to an end and it is time Atlanta moved away from Hamilton and Nick Markakis in favor of a younger more powerful option. More to come as the Braves off-season gets underway.