After non-tendering the right handed batter this past offseason, the Atlanta Braves have brought outfielder Matt Diaz back to the fold, acquiring him from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later.
Diaz signed a two year, $4.25 million deal with the Pirates as a free agent after spending the previous five seasons with the Braves. To say his season to date has been disappointing is what we in the industry refer to as an understatement.
Diaz has been awful in Pittsburgh, matching his barely above .300 on base percentage with Atlanta last season while putting up a slugging percentage of .324. His 4.8% walk rate is Yorvit Torerible and his 19.0% strike out rate is even worse. Against left handed pitching, usually Diaz’s bread and butter, he’s collected a paltry .704 OPS, and that’s despite a .352 BABIP.
As bad as he’s been this season, his numbers against LHP actually offer the Braves upgrades over their team averages. Atlanta currently ranks as the third worst offensive team in all of baseball when facing a southpaw. Don’t think for a second that the Braves aren’t aware of this glaring weakness ahead of potential matchups in the playoffs against Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
While the Diaz upgrade may not set Braves fans hearts a-flutter, it has more in common with the Giants acquiring Carlos Beltran than the Philadelphia Phillies’ most recent transaction.
The Phillies also made a deal with Pittsburgh today to acquire left handed hitting John Bowker for cash or a player to be named later. Bowker has shown a ton of pop at the Minor League levels for the Pirates and the San Francisco Giants, but has never been able to duplicate it in the Majors. He’s most likely a piece of insurance for a playoffs bench spot if Ross Gload can’t get healthy in time.