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.
Fresh off our “Manny Machado didn’t hustle” post, here’s one about him trying a little too hard. Machado was called for interference in the bottom of the fourth inning during Monday night’s NLCS Game 3 against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium. It was actually Machado’s second attempt to interfere with Orlando Arcia during the game.
In the bottom of the second, Machado led off with a single. Cody Bellinger followed up by hitting a grounder to second baseman Travis Shaw, who fed to Arcia. Machado slid towards Arcia enough to disrupt the play, allowing Bellinger to reach first base safely. The Brewers didn’t challenge, in part because Arcia didn’t attempt a throw.
Fast forward to the bottom of the fourth. Machado again leads off and again reaches base, this time with a walk. Bellinger hits another grounder. First baseman Jesús Aguilar snags the ball and fires to Arcia covering the second base bag. Machado slides into second base and reaches out with his right hand to mess with Arcia’s throw to first base. It succeeds, as Arcia’s throw skips past first base towards the dugout. Brewers manager Craig Counsell challenged the call, alleging slide interference (the “Chase Utley rule”). The umpires reviewed the play and agreed that Machado did indeed interfere with Arcia, so Bellinger was called out. What made Machado’s effort even worse is that Bellinger would’ve reached easily regardless, so there was no need to interfere with Arcia.
The Dodgers trail the Brewers 1-0 through the first half of the game. The Brewers got their run early thanks to an RBI double by Ryan Braun off of Walker Buehler in the top of the first. Jhoulys Chacín has pitched excellently for the Brewers thus far.