Matt Diaz has been added to the non-tender pile, as the Braves cut the 33-year-old outfielder loose after five seasons in Atlanta.
Diaz has alternated good years and bad years for the Braves, and when his batting average slumps like it did this season his modest pop, swing-at-everything approach, and poor defense make him a liability.
However, he’s a career .301 hitter with an .806 OPS and if spotted primarily against left-handed pitching as a platoon corner outfielder he would be a very nice pickup for quite a few teams.
Diaz has hit .335 with a .907 OPS versus lefties, compared to .269 with a .710 OPS versus righties, so if paired with a left-handed-hitting platoon-mate and plugged into the lineup against southpaws he can provide about one-third of an All-Star caliber performance.
Plus, he also brings some value to the table as a crazy fan wrangler.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.