The Braves will decline their end of the $7.5MM mutual option on outfielder Billy Hamilton’s services for 2020, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Hamilton will instead receive a $1MM buyout.
Hamilton was a late-season pickup by the Braves, claimed off waivers from the Royals in mid-August when Atlanta was suffering from a spate of outfield injuries. Hamilton ended up appearing in 26 regular season games (with a .692 OPS over 48 PA) for the Braves and two postseason games, coming off the bench twice in the NLDS. Since Hamilton was acquired purely out of necessity and $7.5MM is a hefty price for a player of Hamilton’s limited hitting ability, there was never any doubt that Atlanta would decline the mutual option, though the Braves are in the market for some outfield help this winter.
Over 353 total plate appearances for the Royals and Braves, Hamilton batted only .218/.289/.275, with a 50 OPS+ and 50 wRC+. After seven years in the big leagues, Hamilton is little more than a speed-and-defense specialist at this point, though to his credit he is still one of the sport’s very best baserunners and defensive outfielders. The 29-year-old’s skillset is sure to land him a bench job somewhere, though his days of being an everyday player are likely at an end barring a late-career turn-around at the plate.