Pittsburgh Pirates Non-Tender Catcher Elias Diaz

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced a pair of moves on Monday

Monday was the deadline for teams to either offer a contract to their arbitration eligible players, or non-tender them. For the Pittsburgh Pirates it was a pretty uneventful day, especially compared to the rest of baseball. However, there were a pair of moves made by the team on Monday.

The Pirates came to terms on a contract with super utility man Erik Gonzalez for the 2020 season. They also non-tendered catcher Elias Diaz. This makes Diaz a free agent.

This move does not come as a surprise. Both Diaz and Jacob Stallings are out of minor league options, but Stallings has proven himself to be the superior catcher between the two. With the Pirates in the market for catching help this offseason, it makes sense to keep Stallings as the backup.

Last season Diaz started the season on the injured list due to an unspecified viral issue. After returning to the team he had every opportunity to seize the starting catcher role but never took advantage of the opportunity.

In 101 games he slashed .241/.296/.307 with a wRC+ of 61. He was also one of the worst defensive catchers in the league. All of this led to him owning a -1.5 fWAR. Diaz has now been a negative WAR player in two of his three MLB seasons. Despite owning a 1.8 fWAR in 2018, his career fWAR is -1.0.

As for Gonzalez, the Pirates traded for him last offseason with the idea that he would become the team’s starting shortstop. Gonzalez began the season as the starting shortstop, before breaking his collarbone in late April and watching Kevin Newman seize the job.

Next: Pirate Mailbag: December 2, 2019

Last season Gonzalez played every position for the Pirates except catcher and first base. His career offensive woes continued as he slashed .254/.301/.317 with a wRC+ of 59 in 53 games played. Look for Gonzalez to compete for a spot on the Pirates’ roster as a super utility man this spring.

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