As first reported by the YES Network, the Yankees have officially cut ties with outfielder Matt Diaz, who was in camp this spring on a minor league contract.
Diaz went 6-for-30 (.200/.250/.200) this year in the Grapefruit League, netting zero extra-base hits. The 35-year-old will hope to catch on with a new team that is willing to give him a shot at a bench spot.
The release of Diaz increases the odds of Ben Francisco cracking the Yankees’ Opening Day roster as a backup outfielder. Brennan Boesch is expected to start in left field until Curtis Granderson (forearm) returns and Juan Rivera is likely to take the majority of starts at first base until Mark Teixeira (wrist) is ready. Go Bombers?
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.