According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Matt Diaz has agreed to a two-year contract with the Pirates. Terms aren’t yet available.
Diaz, who turns 33 in March, was non-tendered by the Braves last week after batting .250/.302/.438 with seven home runs and 31 RBI over 224 at-bats this past season. He reportedly drew interest from several teams in free agency, including the the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mariners and Blue Jays, among others.
Diaz has a .337 career batting average and 907 OPS against left-handed pitching, so he is best utilized as part of a platoon, but it’s not clear how the Pirates intend to use him. Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata are everyday players, so he’ll likely share playing time with Garrett Jones, who bats from the left side of the plate.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.