Sunday, February 06, 2005

Sign Matt Diaz

The AP reports that the Devil Rays have signed Travis Lee and designated Matt Diaz for assignment. The Pirates, who still want some outfield help, should grab Diaz. Diaz is coming off two straight years in which he has hit for excellent average and developing power in the high minors, and 2005 will be his age 27 season.

Yesterday, the Post-Gazette reported that the Pirates were one of three teams pursuing Danny Bautista this offseason. (Bautista wound up with - surprise - the Devil Rays.) Bautista is a bad hitter who hasn't managed an OPS over .800 since his injury-shortened 2002 season, even though he's been playing in one of the best offensive environments in baseball. He'll turn 33 during the 2005 season. In addition, the Pirates are still tentatively planning on giving a bunch of at-bats to Daryle Ward, who hasn't put up an .800 OPS since 2000. Given his atrocious defense, Ward is one of the worst starters in baseball.

Diaz is very likely to outproduce Bautista and Ward next year, and he can now be had for a ridiculously low price. The team that acquires him will be able to pay him the league minimum salary for his age 27, 28 and 29 seasons, and he has a decent chance at being a very good spare part or even a functional starter during that time.


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