Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Matt Diaz Another Solid Addition for Pirates

Yesterday was a good day for the Pirates. They picked up Lyle Overbay to upgrade their first base position and then signed Matt Diaz to a two year, low-pay, low-risk contract. Diaz, 32, has played the last several seasons for the Braves with mixed results. However, his lifetime results in mostly part time duty, show a solid player who does a nice job in the outfield.

Diaz, whose career slash line read solidly at: .301/.350/.456, had an off year in 2010, which can partly be explained by a low average on balls hit in play. He will likely platoon with Garrett Jones (the former first baseman) in right field and play against left-handers. Jones has better power numbers, but this Fan believes Diaz would be more valuable with more playing time than Jones. But with there being more right-handed pitchers in baseball than lefties, Jones will get more playing time. If Jones gets off to a slow start, Diaz can be inserted more frequently.

Diaz is a solid outfielder but has a minus arm and is better suited for left field than right, where his arm will be a liability. Jose Tabata, who had a nice debut season last year is penciled in to play left, but he played right field in the minors and it might behoove the Pirates to move Tabata to right and have the platoon of Diaz and Jones in left. Left field is Diaz's best position anyway.

In any case, it is encouraging to see the Pirates hire some solid ball players. Are they the best or most expensive? No and no. But they are solid major league players that should help them instead of hurt them. That alone would be a nice change in direction.

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