Matt Diaz is reportedly signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates on a two-year deal. Diaz has made his living ripping left-handed pitching throughout his career with a .335/.373/.533 line. A proven hitter was too much for the Pirates to pass on, details of the deal were still not announced.
Think of Diaz as a steady, reliable player coming off a somewhat down season because of a thumb injury. He would be much more appealing to me if he wasn’t in his thirties, but nevertheless he will be an upgrade for the Pirates offense.
His outfield defense is an upgrade when compared to Ryan Doumit and Lastings Milledge. The UZR numbers for him in RF are bad, but he has played there very irregularly. In my opinion Diaz is a band-aid. The club certainly knows that and until Andrew Lambo and the other outfielders are ready, it’s a move the front office felt was necessary to make.
Most people won’t like Diaz over Milledge due to a number of factors, but most of it boils down to two very key factors in the game of baseball: youth and money. It’s hard to argue those points at this time.
Diaz is older and will cost the Pirates more money. But he is a proven lefty killer, Milledge was just figuring it out. He can run the bases, Milledge was just figuring it out. The one thing the Pirates don’t want to happen? Milledge gets it all figured out while under another MLB hat, while Diaz is hit with nagging injuries in black and gold.
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