Multiple media reports out of Venezuela are saying that the mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz has been kidnapped.
There is a sad, recent history of baseball players and/or their families either being kidnapped or threatened with kidnapping in Venezuela in recent years. In 2009 the mother of pitcher Victor Zambrao was kidnapped. Catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in 2011. Other Venezuelan players, such as Miguel Cabrera, have spoken out about threats their families have received and many have moved their families out of Venezuela altogether. Given the political, social and economic unrest which has rocked the country in recent years, the situation is clearly not getting any better.
Diaz himself is reportedly in the United States, preparing for Pirates spring training which begins for catcher like him next week. Obviously, however, his mind and heart are elsewhere at the moment.
The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later, the teams announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Rays cleared a roster spot for Cron by designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.
Cron wasn’t expected to factor prominently in the Angels’ plans for 2018, especially given the recent addition of pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani and the projected Luis Valbuena/Albert Pujols combo at first base. The 28-year-old infielder wasn’t overly impressive during his fourth season in Anaheim, either, slashing .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs and 0.5 fWAR through 373 plate appearances in 2017. He’ll give the Rays a platoon option with fellow first baseman Brad Miller, though neither Cron nor Miller have looked particularly adept against left-handed pitching lately.
Dickerson, meanwhile, is coming off of a banner season with the Rays. The 29-year-old outfielder enjoyed his first All-Star nomination in 2017, rounding out the year with a .282/.325/.490 batting line and career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA. Some have already speculated that a trade is in the works; barring that, it’s a head-scratching move to make considering his clear offensive value to the team.