The Atlanta Braves are thrilled to have Matt Diaz back. Pittsburgh Pirates fans are thrilled Matt Diaz is gone.
We saw this solid article from David O’Brien about Diaz. In which he said this…The Braves will send the Pirates a player to be named later, likely from a pool of minor-league candidates the teams have agreed on. But I’m not sure about that yet.
Diaz was supposed to platoon with Garrett Jones in 2011. The caveman, as some called him in Atlanta, would be a solid stick against left handers for the Bucs, or so we thought.
It didn’t happen.
We have talked to a few Pirates players during the season who spoke very highly of Diaz in the clubhouse. He was well respected.
But there always seems to be an emotional connection when the Bucs sign a free agent in the offseason. For many Pirates fans, free agency is the quick fix. The can’t miss. But it rarely seems to work for the Pirates. Hell, it doesn’t seem to work for a large percentage of MLB teams.
But it never ends. The allure of the quick fix won’t go away.
If only the Pirates would sign [player x] all would be right on Federal Street. it’s a long winded argument, usually conducted by a person who has an alcoholic beverage in one hand, sometimes both hands. The argument never ends with a conclusion, because the Pirates don’t/can’t/refuse to sign bigger name free agents.
Some say they wouldn’t come to Pittsburgh, which is probably true. But something seems off here. Do the Pirates try to sign higher reward free agents because they have to do it that way, or because they want to do it that way? Is it easier to sell Bob Nutting on a several smaller couple million dollar deals than one large deal? We wouldn’t think it would be.
In severe hindsight, a player that might have been a better fit in right field would have been Lance Berkman. He got a bigger deal with the Cardinals and it’s paid off for them. When doing the math on Lyle Overbay, Diaz, Olsen it’s easy to see the amount of money pissed away. Yeh, the Bucs had a few holes to fill, but sometimes trying to be certain that one hole is filled might be a more logical approach.
Maybe in 2012 a solution the Pirates decide to take is ranking which hole is most important– and focus on filling it.
Rather than three or four rebound/upside type free agents, the team will put all it’s eggs in one basket so to speak and attempt to sign a bigger name player? It is interesting to think about just what might have been if the Pirates had went that route in 2011.
Diaz seemed to focus so hard on being the captain of the ship that his performance suffered. Or maybe, he just lost it? Many of us thought he would see some starts against lefties, others thought about him being overused by Clint Hurdle.
But after starting the season so poorly, it was difficult for him to ever establish himself with this club.
By the time he started figuring it out he was playing awful music in the clubhouse and his approach at the plate appeared seemed the same. His power was gone, he seemed to be a shell of the player who Atlanta fell in love with.
At the plate he was more interested in making productive outs than ripping a double. In Atlanta he should be fine, he’s a role player. In Pittsburgh, the team needed much more than a part-time role player and Diaz wasn’t able to even produce that actually. It was mystifying and typical of the free agent signings this year in Pittsburgh.
But one thing is certain— back in April Diaz proclaimed on 93.7 The Fan that PNC Park would be rocking in September. It still might be, but Diaz won’t be here to witness it. For half of the season, Diaz seemed to be some type of baseball soothsayer, as his prediction seemed to be destined to become reality.
Now it’s just another pipedream that even Nostradamus wouldn’t predict.