Non-Tender Candidate: Matt Diaz

Nearly two weeks ago, when MLBTR's Mike Axisa examined Melky Cabrera's future, about two-thirds of you predicted the Braves would not tender the ex-Yankee a contract this winter. Cabrera isn't the only non-tender candidate in Atlanta's outfield, however; the Braves will also have to decide whether or not they want to retain Matt Diaz.

Like Cabrera, Diaz has suffered a decline in production in 2010 (.237/.284/.433) following a solid 2009 campaign (.313/.390/.488). After recording a career-high 371 plate appearances in 2009, Diaz has seen less action this year, due to a thumb injury, his decline in performance, and the arrivals of Cabrera, Jason Heyward, and Eric Hinske. Even Diaz's ability to mash left-handed pitching has wavered a little, as his .814 OPS vs. southpaws is a sizable step down from his .906 career mark.

Entering his final year of arbitration, Diaz shouldn't be expensive, since he'd earn no more than a modest raise on this year's $2.55MM salary. Still, he'll turn 33 before the 2011 season begins, and he doesn't have the same defensive flexibility that Cabrera does – UZR has ranked him as a below-average defender for the past three seasons. While Diaz could rebound and prove to be an affordable fourth outfielder with some pop for the '11 Braves, the club may decide to look in a different direction. If the Braves were to non-tender Diaz, they'd have the option of putting that $3MM or so in savings toward an impact free agent bat.

Do you expect the Braves to tender Diaz a contract this offseason? Click here to weigh in and click here to view the results.


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19 Comments on "Non-Tender Candidate: Matt Diaz"


Dave_Gershman
4 years 11 months ago

Matt Diaz and Melky Cabrera have both been non-tender candiditaes on this site. I say the Braves keep one an I think that will be Diaz.

4 years 11 months ago

Diaz was injured for a lot, he hasn’t played well but he is still a reliable option vs. left-handed pitching. The Braves will have a left-handed first basemen next year, so they will need someone like Diaz.

4 years 11 months ago

I think they will keep Diaz

goldenglove002
4 years 11 months ago

If they can guarantee that the 3 MIL will go into a big impact bat, then I could see it. But he’s one of those gamers that they like in the clubhouse and he always has that potential to tear up lefties (and the mets). He’s a good option off the bench, so seeing him tendered a contract would not surprise me one bit.

drumzalicious
4 years 11 months ago

With the Braves steadily cutting payroll for the last few years I think the best option would be to non-tender Diaz and Melky. That would give them an extra 6mil or so to work with for the RH power bat that they seem to always be looking for whether it be in a trade or a Free Agent. They could then utilize someone else as their 4th outfielder who will make considerably less money than either of Diaz or Melky. They have a few different options in their upper minors which is another reason why I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them gone.

NYBravosFan10
4 years 11 months ago

Matty is one of the most beloved members of the team. He always hustles, makes very few dumb mistakes, and always looks depressingly upset when he does make a mistake. He’s not going anywhere.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
4 years 11 months ago

They may non tender him AND still bring him back. That way they don’t have to give him the normal raise. He’s not worth big bucks, but he’s been a valuable bench player. I say they keep him around, on a smaller contract for another season.

I have never been a fan of Melky Cabrera. I don’t think he stays. They may waive him before the non tender deadline.

billreef
4 years 11 months ago

It would be one of the stupidest moves the Braves have ever made to non-tender Diaz. His lack of production this year is completely due to Bobby’s moronic use of the outfielders this year. Diaz has never been well used, he suffered from Bobby’s platoon mentality, even when reason doesn’t bear that out. Anyone who signs Diaz if he is non-tendered will have to pay a pretty price. Teams will be climbing over each other to get him onboard. This Braves front office is like Charley McCarthy though, head full of wood.

btwalker
4 years 11 months ago

I do not believe people will be climbing over each other to sign Diaz. I am a Diaz fan but he is a below average outfielder, aweful on base %, and very little power. I do not believe he is worth 2.5 mil per year but I would love to see him back with the club at a lower salary. The braves desperately need to add some power in the outfield especially if McClouth can’t get his carreer back on track

deaner998
4 years 11 months ago

Everyone in Atlanta loves Matt Diaz (I think the hustling rep comes from getting such late jumps on balls in the gap more than anything, and that he’s always pressing) and if Bobby were coming back I think Diaz would be back (we’ve had a lefty-crusher since Tony Graffanino), buuuuuuut I think he will be let go. I think there will be a few changes to clear cash. He could come back on a smaller deal, but I doubt it.

4 years 11 months ago

wouldn’t you rather have melky than diaz? he’s a better fielder and 6 years younger.

csg
4 years 11 months ago

no Melky sucks and isnt useful at any OF spot, his defense is actually horrible in LF and CF

lets compare the two
Melky – -0.6 WAR / -$2.2 mil
LF -3.6UZR -14 UZR/150
CF -7.4/ -30.9

Diaz – +0.3 WAR / $1.0 mil
LF -0.5UZR -2.0UZR/150

Diaz has been hurt most of the year, but still has a higher value and is a better fielder in LF. If Im choosing between the two, know how this team hits lefties, Ill take Diaz. Melky does nothing well.

14 Rocks
4 years 11 months ago

Braves fans have a ridiculous love affair with Matt Diaz. I’ve never been able to figure it out. They may go on strike if the beloved Matty is waived. He should obviously be non-tendered. I would tender Melky a contract (based purely on his ability to play all 3 outfield positions) unless of course they can get a less expensive version.

csg
4 years 11 months ago

just because he “plays” all 3 doesnt mean he’s good at any of them. He’s below average at every spot. I dont care if Diaz is nontendered, but I sure as hell wouldnt pick Melky over him

4 years 11 months ago

Matt Diaz is a class act and a solid 4th outfielder but he’s not worth 3 million. I would non-tender him and bring him back for 1 million. Infante is going to move to LF next year with Chipper returning to 3B and Prado at 2B. We could use the 6 million that would go between Diaz/Cabrera on a real impact Center Fielder. I would love for them to make a run at a guy like Carl Crawford or trade for Matt Kemp who isn’t particularly liked in Los Angeles these days. Those two guys can play CF and are a nice bat to have in the lineup.

Guest
4 years 11 months ago

i’d be ok with the braves giving him a two year extension for around $1.75 mill. anyone think he’d bite?

k26dp
4 years 11 months ago

Neither. He’ll sign a contract with the team long before the tender deadline.

Josh Brown
4 years 10 months ago

Matt Diaz is the most underrated player in baseball. If he goes to another team, they will more than likely have more sense than Bobby and play him everyday, and he’ll be an All-Star. Fact.

Josh Brown
4 years 10 months ago

Matt Diaz is the most underrated player in baseball. If he goes to another team, they will more than likely have more sense than Bobby and play him everyday, and he’ll be an All-Star. Fact.