Matt Diaz Rumors


Matt Diaz Will Not Pursue New Contract

Longtime Braves outfielder Matt Diaz has announced via Twitter that he will not pursue a new contract (hat tip to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Though he stopped short of saying he will file retirement papers, Diaz made clear in a post on his blog (well worth a read) that he expects his playing career to be over.

Diaz saw only minimal time with the Marlins last year at age 35. He did, however, put up a promising .341/.385/.459 triple-slash in his 91 Triple-A plate appearances for Miami. Surely, Diaz would have had to settle for a minor league deal and a depth assignment in the upper minors had he decided to play.

The 11-year MLB veteran was most productive in 2006, 2007, and 2009 for Atlanta. In each of those three seasons, he posted over 300 plate appearances, registered an OPS of .839 or better, and was worth at least 1.7 rWAR/1.9 fWAR. Diaz also spent time with the Rays, Royals, Pirates, and Marlins organizations, but will unquestionably be remembered as a ballplayer for his work with the Braves.


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Marlins Designate Nick Green For Assignment

The Marlins have designated infielder Nick Green for assignment and selected the contract of outfielder Matt Diaz from Triple-A New Orleans, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (on Twitter).

It was reported yesterday that this was a likely outcome for Green, who hit .321/.344/.500 with a home run in 34 plate appearances for the Fish. However, the 34-year-old has a lifetime batting line of just .237/.304/.351. In parts of eight Major League seasons, the journeyman has seen time with the Rays, Dodgers, Marlins, Mariners, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Braves.

Defensively, Green has graded out as an above average shortstop and an average second baseman, according to UZR and The Fielding Bible. Neither is a fan of his limited body of work at third base (242 innings).



Marlins To Sign Matt Diaz

The Marlins have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Matt Diaz, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). Diaz signed a minor league deal with the Yankees this offseason but was released last week. He is represented by Reynolds Sports Management.

Diaz, 35, hit .222/.280/.333 in 51 games for the Braves last season, but owns a much more respectable .770 career OPS. He's tattooed left-handed pitching throughout his 10-year career, knocking them around to the tune of a .324/.364/.498 line. Though he's primarily played left field throughout his career, he does have extensive experience in right field as well.



NL Notes: Chapman, Stewart, Rockies, Braves

St. Patrick's Day is as much of a baseball holiday as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or Labor Day thanks to former Reds GM Dick Wagner. Tom Singer of MLB.com chronicles how the baseball tradition of wearing the green came about 35 years ago. Elsewhere from the Reds and the rest of the National League:

  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty expects a decision in the next few days on whether Aroldis Chapman will pitch out of the bullpen or be moved into the starting rotatation, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Chapman stated publicly he wants to close, which didn't sit well with Jocketty. "We don’t let every player tell us how they want to be used," the GM told MLB.com.
  • Ian Stewart's lingering left quad injury could affect his chances at making the roster and how the Cubs build their bench, writes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Brent Lillibridge, Luis Valbuena, Edwin Maysonet, and Alberto Gonzalez are competing to fill that void while manager Dale Sveum mentioned Steve Clevenger could be an interesting option and added the team is watching all the waiver wires. 
  • The Rockies are giving serious consideration to making Nolan Arenado their starting third baseman with one club official telling Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com "it’s a tough call." If Arenado receives the nod, Rosenthal believes incumbent third baseman Chris Nelson could be used to acquire a veteran starting pitcher.
  • Within the same piece, sources tell Rosenthal the Rockies want to move Ramon Hernandez and are willing to assume some of his $3.2MM salary to facilitate a trade.
  • Don't expect the Braves to have any interest in the recently released Matt Diaz because there isn't a need right now, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The Marlins have returned Rule 5 selection Braulio Lara to the Rays, reports Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. The left-hander appeared in four games for the Marlins this spring throwing four innings allowing two earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks.



Yankees Release Matt Diaz

The Yankees have released outfielder Matt Diaz, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Diaz was expected to fill a need for the Yankees as a right-handed hitting outfielder.

The Bombers signed Diaz to a minor league deal back in December that would have paid $1.2MM plus incentives if he made the big league roster.  The Reynolds Sports Management client boasts a career .324/.364/.498 slash line against lefties.  Last season with the Braves he posted a .222/.280/.333 batting line in 51 big league games.



AL Notes: Lohse, Cano, Granderson, Orioles

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the market for Kyle Lohse and wrote it would be very surprising to see the Royals make a move for him. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star agrees, even if a rash of injuries were to hit their starters, because the Royals are $10MM over their projected break-even point in payroll. Dutton adds James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis can't pitch poorly enough this spring to lose their spots in the rotation. Elsewhere around the American League:

  • The Yankees will not let the way Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract has panned out affect their negotiations with Robinson Cano, GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio's Ian O'Connor (transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com). "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex," said Cashman.
  • The Yankees announced Curtis Granderson will miss the next ten weeks with a fractured right forearm after being hit with a pitch during today's Spring Training game. Non-roster invitees Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera plus minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are the in-house candidates to replace the Yankees' leading home run hitter from a year ago, tweets the YES Network's Jack Curry.
  • If the Yankees do go outside the organization to replace Granderson, they can find a better option toward the end of camp, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com
  • A deal for Alfonso Soriano could make sense for the Yankees and the Cubs have made it clear to the industry they would be willing to pay much of the $36MM owed Soriano for the next two years, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
  • Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked if the Yankees turn to Vernon Wells to replace Granderson. If so, the Angels would still have to eat a majority of the $42MM due Wells over the next two years (Twitter links).
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, he's satisfied with the DH candidates already in camp and will not scour the free agent market. "We’re answering the questions here,” Showalter said. “We’re going to find it right here. We spent a lot of time getting this group in. We’re going to look in our backyard.Wilson Betemit is the main candidate to DH against right-handers while Russ Canzler and Danny Valencia are the favorites against left-handers. Dubroff also sees Nolan Reimold in the mix as well as regulars whom Showalter wants to give a breather.
 



AL East Notes: Red Sox, Yankees, Diaz

Links on the Yankees and Red Sox as Wednesday becomes Thursday..

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) sees several tradeable pieces on the Red Sox roster.  Among them are the club's spare catchers (Ryan Lavarnway or Jarrod Saltalamacchia), Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Bailey, or one of their left-handed relievers.  Abraham isn't sure what those pieces could net Boston in return, however.
  • The Yankees' signing of Matt Diaz to a minor league deal likely won't end their search for a right-handed hitting outfield option, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.  Diaz's deal will be worth $1.2MM if he reaches the majors with the chance to earn an additional $800K in incentives.
  • Diaz could be primed for a bounce-back year as his agents at Reynolds Sports Management (on Twitter) point out that the outfielder's recurring thumb issues are behind him.  Diaz's slash line over the last two years has been .251/.295/.326 versus .301/.350/.456 in the previous eight seasons.



Yankees To Sign Matt Diaz

6:04pm: The outfielder can earn as much as $800K in incentives, sources tell Marc Carig of Newsday (Twitter link).

5:44pm: Diaz will earn $1.2MM plus incentives if he makes the big league club, sources tell Feinsand (on Twitter).

5:05pm: The Yankees have agreed to terms with Matt Diaz on a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).  Feinsand tipped the signing earlier this week when he noted that the outfielder would be a potential fit for the Bombers.

Diaz spent last season with the Braves and posted a .222/.280/.333 batting line in 51 big league games.  The Reynolds Sports Management client boasts a career .324/.364/.498 slash line against lefties.



Yankees Notes: Cashman, Ibanez, Diaz, Payroll

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News looks at the Yankees' offseason so far and examines deals the team hasn't made given budgetary concerns (all Twitter links)...

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman blames the team's lack of pursuit of Raul Ibanez on the club's priority of acquiring a right-handed hitting outfielder. Beyond finding an outfielder, Cashman says that the team does not have an unlimited budget and must work within its means. 
  • Feinsand points to right-handed outfielder Matt Diaz as a potential fit for the Yankees. Diaz has regained his health, should be an inexpensive sign and would bring a career batting line against lefties of .324/.364/.498.
  • The Yankees will open the 2013 season with a payroll over $200MM but remain in a situation similar to last year where Cashman had to move expensive contracts before adding anyone new.



Pirates Acquire Eliecer Cardenas

The Pirates announced that they have acquired right-hander Eliecer Cardenas from the Braves to complete the deal that sent Matt Diaz back to Atlanta last month. The Braves acquired Diaz from Pittsburgh for a player to be named on August 31st, the last day for teams to add players who are eligible for the postseason.

Cardenas, 23, reached Double-A this year, though he spent most of his season at Class A. The Dominican pitched 59 2/3 total innings, all in relief, and posted a 2.11 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 (his ERA with Class A Lynchburg was 0.79). The Braves selected Cardenas from the Twins in the minor league phase of last winter's Rule 5 draft.









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