Matt Diaz Rumors
Matt Diaz is returning to the Braves, as the Pirates announced they've traded him to Atlanta for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Diaz fits the Braves' desire to add a right-handed hitting bench bat, and of course they had him in the organization from 2006-10 before non-tendering him last winter.
Diaz, 33, is hitting .259/.303/.324 in 231 plate appearances for the Pirates this year while playing mostly right field. He was signed to a two-year, $4.25MM deal in December, but hasn't shown the expected power production against left-handed pitchers. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes on Twitter that the Pirates are sending some cash to the Braves to offset Diaz's $2MM salary for 2012. The Braves might not be done dealing, hears ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link).
ESPN's Buster Olney first reported the trade. Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.
The Pirates have signed Matt Diaz to a two-year deal, the team announced today. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) first reported the agreement, which is worth approximately $4.25MM, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. The Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Royals, Dodgers, Mariners, Blue Jays, and Yankees also had interest in the outfielder, according to reports earlier this week. Agent Larry Reynolds represents Diaz.
The 32-year-old handles lefties well and could become a complement to Garrett Jones, who handles righties well. Diaz has a .335/.373/.533 line against southpaws in his career, though he bats just .269/.327/.382 against right-handers. The Braves non-tendered Diaz earlier in the month, making him a free agent. Diaz has experience in right field, but he has spent most of his big league career in left.
7:30pm: The D'Backs made Diaz an offer, but it appears that he'll sign elsewhere, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
12:42pm: Matt Diaz seems to be one of baseball's more popular non-tenders. His agent Larry Reynolds believes he'll sign in the "next couple of days, even today." Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adds the Diamondbacks to a list of suitors that also includes the Red Sox, Royals, Dodgers, Mariners, Blue Jays, and Yankees. The Phillies and Pirates have come up in a more speculative sense.
Rosenthal notes that the Diamondbacks prefer a first base/left field utility type like Diaz or Xavier Nady to a full-time option like Derrek Lee. It seems they could end up with platoons at third base, first base, and left field in 2011.
Like many clubs, the Royals are seeking a right-handed hitting outfielder. They're considering multiple ex-Braves, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Consitution: Jeff Francoeur, Matt Diaz, Melky Cabrera, and Andruw Jones. Diaz, of course, was with the Royals first.
The Dodgers could sign a right-handed hitting outfielder this week, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, and they've looked at Matt Diaz, Jeff Francoeur, and Bill Hall. Pure speculation: perhaps Austin Kearns and Scott Hairston will come up as well. The Dodgers could make Xavier Paul available after signing an outfielder, tweets Morosi.
MLB.com's Ken Gurnick first reported the Dodgers' interest in Diaz yesterday; he has many suitors and may sign this week. I assume the Rockies are now out on Hall after signing Ty Wigginton; his other known suitor is the Yankees. The Rockies, Royals, and Phillies have been linked to Francoeur.
- ESPN's Mike Salk says Miguel Olivo's name is popping up more than Zaun's in association with Seattle. Olivo spent parts of the '04 and '05 seasons with the Mariners.
- Salk says the Mariners are looking harder for a second baseman than a third baseman. They prefer Chone Figgins at third.
- Salk describes the Mariners' interest in Matsui as tire-kicking and is skeptical a deal will happen.
- The Ms are more focused on their everyday lineup than rotation right now, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- The Mariners are in on Matt Diaz, but they're one of as many as ten teams. ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that things are moving fast with Diaz. He's expected to pick a team by midday Wednesday, tweets Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse. Diaz's agent Larry Reynolds told WEEI's Rob Bradford his client could even sign today.
10:50pm: The Dodgers are in talks to re-sign Padilla, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
4:00pm: The Dodgers are willing to listen to offers for Broxton, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports.
11:42am: The Dodgers hope to add two relievers, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark, with Vicente Padilla one of them. He says some teams wonder if they'd be willing to move Jonathan Broxton if they add the right arms. The Dodgers have previously been linked to Jesse Crain, Jason Frasor, and Matt Guerrier.
Diaz, 33 in March, could serve as a platoon partner for Jay Gibbons in left field. The Phillies, Astros, and Yankees are other potential suitors for him. Accardo, meanwhile, hasn't pitched extensively in the Majors since '07.
4:17pm: The Blue Jays also have some interest in Diaz, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
3:15pm: The Yankees and Mariners are interested in Matt Diaz as a possible platoon player. New York would mix Diaz in with Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson, according to Ed Price of AOL FanHouse. The Mariners are interested in platooning Diaz with Michael Saunders in left field, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
Like Marcus Thames, who excelled for the Yankees in a part-time role last year, Diaz handles lefties well. He has a .335/.373/.533 line against them in his career, though he bats just .269/.327/.382 against right-handers. The Braves non-tendered the 32-year-old last week, making him a free agent.
In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Jayson Stark discusses the ripple effect that Jayson Werth's $126MM deal will have on the remaining free agents. One AL official opines that it raises Carl Crawford's price in a "big, big way": "He's looking at maybe eight years, $180 million now, maybe 10 years, $190 million." Here are the rest of Stark's hot stove notes:
- Crawford is the clear top target for the Angels, but in the past they've tried to avoid going as high as eight years for any player, let alone ten.
- Despite getting Werth's contract done already, Scott Boras often drags out negotiations for his top clients. Stark polled a dozen people across baseball on when Adrian Beltre would sign, and many predicted it wouldn't happen until Christmas or later.
- Neither the Yankees or Rangers have made a formal offer to Cliff Lee yet, but many of those baseball people polled by Stark expect a deal to get done within the next week.
- There's good news and bad news for the Royals and Zack Greinke's trade value: with many free agent arms coming off the board already, Greinke has become more valuable in a pitching-thin market. However, according to one AL source, "Greinke has been trying to convince the Royals that it's not a great idea if he's there next year," which reduces Kansas City's leverage.
- The Diamondbacks haven't totally ruled out trading Justin Upton, though it appears unlikely. Kevin Towers tells Stark "it's going to take somebody a little on the crazy side" to get anything done.
- There's a sense that Jason Bartlett is the player most likely to be traded this week. However, Stark has trouble finding a team in need of a shortstop that matches up well with the Rays, who would like a late-inning reliever in return.
- With Werth off the market, the Phillies will look to replace him with a complementary player rather than a big name. Stark lists Scott Hairston, Jeff Francoeur, and Matt Diaz as a few possible targets. Philadelphia has also been trying to find a taker for Raul Ibanez, but would likely have to eat a good chunk of salary to do so.
The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Ronny Cedeno and Jeff Karstens, signing both players to one-year contracts. MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch has the contract details. Cedeno will earn a $1.85MM base in 2011, and has a club option for '12 that includes significant incentives based on starts. Karstens will earn $1.1MM next year.
Cedeno is the incumbent starter at shortstop, though the Pirates are known to be looking for help at the position. The veteran has played mostly shortstop over the last two years, but has also played second, third and the outfield in his career. Cedeno has a .682 OPS in 672 plate appearances as a Pirate.
Karstens came to the Bucs in July 2008 as part of the trade that sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the Yankees. In 74 appearances (41 of them starts) for Pittsburgh, Karstens has posted a 4.95 ERA and a 1.73 K/BB ratio. As Biertempfel pointed out in his longer article, Karstens' $1.1MM salary for 2011 is almost triple what he earned last season.
Other news from Biertempfel...
- Infielder Argenis Diaz, outfielder Lastings Milledge and left-handers Brian Burres and Donald Veal were all non-tendered by the Bucs, but the club wants to re-sign Burres and Veal. Diaz "is unlikely to return."
- Milledge could be welcomed back "if we think it's the right fit for the team, and he thinks it's the right fit for him," said Neal Huntington. The Pirates GM said he couldn't work out a contract with Milledge before the non-tender deadline and "began to explore alternatives" to fill Milledge's corner outfield spot. Two options are Jack Cust and Matt Diaz, both of whom were non-tendered themselves by the A's and Braves, respectively.