LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Pirates early today added some right-handed pop to their lineup by signing outfielder Matt Diaz to a two-year contract. Financial terms were not immediately available.
Diaz, 32, became a free agent after being non-tendered by the Atlanta Braves. He has one year of arbitration eligibility left. This year, he made $2.55 million and hit .273, but played in just 84 games due to an infected thumb.
In five seasons as a platoon outfielder with the Braves, Diaz hit .305 with an .815 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). From 2007-09, he hit .369 with a .975 OPS against left-handers.
Diaz represents a likely upgrade over Lastings Milledge, last season’s starting right fielder who managed just 34 RBI in 113 games and eventually fell into a backup role.
Although most of Diaz’s experience is in left field, he likely will platoon in right for the Pirates. Two days ago, general manager Neal Huntington said Ryan Doumit could open the year as the starting right fielder. Diaz’s arrival could be a precursor to another move, perhaps a trade of Doumit or Garrett Jones.