Results tagged ‘ Matt Diaz ’

Day 2: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Hart, Kevin.jpgLet me start off today’s post-workout recap with a question for you: What’s the biggest challenge facing Clint Hurdle as he begins the task as this team’s next manager?

That was the question posed to me recently and the subject of a story I wrote for the main site today. You can find my answer to that inquiry here. And, of course, I would love to hear your thoughts as well, if you so desire to share.

Plenty else to run through at the end of another workout day, so let’s get rolling:

  • First baseman Lyle Overbay arrived in Bradenton last night and made his first appearance at Pirate City on Tuesday. Overbay helped out during the pitchers’ fielding practice, and he took some cuts during batting practice. With Overbay in uniform, the Pirates are now just missing seven of their 62 players.
  • Right-hander Kevin Hart was out on the field before workouts going through his long toss program. Hart had been shut down for 10 days and given a cortisone shot to help reduce inflammation in his surgically-repaired shoulder. All went well on Tuesday as he got to throwing again. The Pirates aren’t going to rush Hart’s progression, though, so it will be a while before he takes the mound again.
  • Congratulations are in order for Manny Sanguillen, who was recently inducted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame. He was part of the second class of inductees and was joined by Edgar Martinez, Luis Tiant, Andres Galarraga, Rico Carty, Dennis Martinez and Fernando Valenzuela. The ceremony was held this past Saturday in the Dominican Republic.
  • I had the opportunity to meet pitching prospect Luis Heredia today, as he spent the morning watching the Major League Spring Training workouts. He asked to leave the Pirate City dorms and watch. Heredia also threw a long toss session in the afternoon. He is scheduled to throw off the mound on Thursday. My first impression: very cordial kid, and very tall! And to think that he is already 6-foot-6 and only 16, with time to continue growing.
  • The following 16 players threw their scheduled bullpen sessions on Tuesday: Charlie Morton, Brian Burres, Fernando Nieve, Chris Resop, Sean Gallagher, Tony Watson, Cesar Valdez, Tyler Yates, Jeff Karstens, Justin Thomas, Brad Lincoln, Chris Leroux, Daniel McCutchen, Ramon Aguero, Daniel Moskos and Bryan Morris.
  • The final number of side session was then pushed to 17 when Donnie Veal took the mound for a short side after the rest of the group had finished. Veal is on a different track than the rest of the pitchers, since he is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • Pitching coach Ray Searage (unsolicited) specifically praised three pitchers for looking particularly sharp in their first official bullpen session — Yates, Evan Meek, and Michael Crotta. Speaking of Meek, Searage said: “That was the best ‘pen I’ve ever seen out of Meek. Good gosh, it was solid.”
  • You can find more about this in the lengthy Pirates Beat that will be posted on the main site later this afternoon, but lefty Scott Olsen is being particularly cautious in his Spring Training progression this year. The goal is to ensure that the left shoulder, which has caused him injury issues over the past two years, does not flare up. A slower progression won’t affect his ability to compete for a rotation spot.
  • You won’t be seeing any strings during the side sessions any more. The strings that former pitching coach Joe Kerrigan used to put across home plate as a marker for pitch location are gone. The dummies are still around, but they will not be used all that much anymore, either.
  • Right-hander Brad Lincoln has reported to camp a few pounds lighter after some tough offseason conditioning work. His breaking ball isn’t all that sharp yet, though that’s obviously common at this point in the spring. As for his mechanics — which were badly tinkered with last season — Searage said they are back to where they need to be. Searage also promised that he would not be forcing any new mechancial changes on Lincoln moving forward.
  • Don’t expect the Pirates to name an Opening Day starter until at least midway through the Grapefruit League schedule. Hurdle said he already has some candidates, but he wants to see these starters pitch in games before a final schedule is mapped out.
  • Congratulations are also in order for James McDonald, who got engaged down here on Monday night.
  • The Pirates remain mum on their closer decision. It should be made this week, though.
  • Outfielder Matt Diaz is looking for 120 volunteers to help him build a playground for the Winter Haven Boys and Girls club on March 15. If you want more information, go here.

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Milledge signs with White Sox

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Former Pirates outfielder Lastings Milledge has signed a Minor League deal with the White Sox. The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training. The Pirates non-tendered Milledge earlier this offseason as the club preferred to court free agent Matt Diaz to fill a need in right field.

Milledge, as you might remember, joined the Pirates with Joel Hanrahan in June 2009. The pair came over from the Nationals, who received Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett in return. Though Milledge never ascended to the level the Pirates had hoped, Pittsburgh could still be a long-term “winner” in this deal if Hanrahan continues to dominate as a late-inning reliever or closer.

In 171 games with the Pirates, Milledge hit .282 with eight homers and 54 RBIs.

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Diaz signing made official

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Now almost a week after an agreement was reached, the Pirates have announced their two-year deal with outfielder Matt Diaz. It’s already been well-documented that Diaz will step into a platoon situation in right field, where he will start against left-handed pitchers and have the chance to increase his playing time if he can also produce against right-handers.

The full story on the signing and its implications can be found at this link.

Here is the breakdown of Diaz’s salary, which totals a guaranteed $4.25 million over the next two seasons.

  • Signing bonus: $250,000
  • 2011 base salary: $2 million
  • 2012 base salary: $2 million
  • Plate appearanceincentives: $25,000 for 300 plate appearances; another $25,000 for 325 plate appearances; another $25,000 for 350 plate appearances; another $25,000 for 375 plate appearances; another $25,000 for 400 plate appearances
  • Award incentives: $150,000 for MVP Award ($100,000 for second; $75,000 for third); $25,000 if World Series MVP; $25,000 if League Championship Series MVP; $25,000 if Division Series MVP; $25,000 for Gold Glove Award; $25,000 for All-Star appearance; $50,000 for Silver Slugger Award
  • Club cannot offer salary arbitration to Diaz after the 2012 season if he is a Type A free agent.

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Matt Diaz contract terms

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Heard that the Pirates’ two-year agreement with outfielder Matt Diaz is for “approximately $4.25 million.” That has not been confirmed by the club, which is mum on all aspects of the deal since it is not yet official. It’s also unknown how the salary would break down exactly per year and what incentives might be built in.

Diaz made $2.55 million with Atlanta in 2010.

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Pirates agree to terms with Diaz

The Pirates appear to have landed the right-handed hitting outfielder they coveted, as an industry source confirmed late Tuesday that free agent outfielder Matt Diaz has come to a two-year agreement with the club. Terms of the deal were not immediately known.

The Pirates have not confirmed the deal or commented on the reports. Diaz met with new Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Monday night and said he came away impressed.

Diaz drew the interest of a number of clubs after being non-tendered by the Braves last week. He hit .250 playing part time for the Braves last season, one year after batting .313 in 125 games.

The Pirates have been looking for someone who can be a threat against left-handed pitching, and Diaz is exactly that. He batted. 273 against lefties last season and is a career .335 hitter against southpaws.

Diaz played primarily in left while with Atlanta, but his fit with the Pirates would be in right. He has played 78 career games as a right fielder and batted .305 in his five-year stay with Atlanta.

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Winter Meetings Day 2 grumblings…

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Haven’t heard much substantial regarding the Pirates today, as impending deals with free agent pitchers Scott Olsen and Kevin Correia are at a standstill and awaiting physicals. Neither is likely to be done by the time everyone departs the Winter Meetings on Thursday. But they should be finalized not long after.

A few thoughts/notes/pure speculation/analysis regarding other activity today:

  • It’s unknown if the Pirates’ acquisition of two starting pitchers will push the club to start focusing more on other needs than on adding starting depth. On the other hand, you can’t have too much starting pitching. And neither Olsen or Correia are exactly coming off banner years, so the Pirates would do well to keep looking for additional options.
  • The Pirates are still in the market for a right-handed hitting first baseman or right fielder. Matt Diaz, who was non-tendered by Atlanta last week, seemed like one option that could be a good fit. However, Diaz seems to be a target for a lot of teams, so the Pirates might be squeezed out of a shot at him.
  • Josh Willingham, who the Nationals are making known is available in a trade, is another interesting name. Willingham would cost some money — he made $4.6 million last year and is arbitration eligible for the third time this offseason. He would also only be guaranteed to stay for one year, which could be a turnoff to the Pirates. But he has some pop, and if the Nationals need to clear some salary room for their big offseason spending plans, they might be willing to give up Willingham for not so hefty a return. Just a thought. 
  • Former Pirates hitting coach Don Long was in Orlando on Tuesday interviewing to be the Mets’ hitting coach. I’d imagine that had something to do with Jason Bay, who credits Long with turning him around in 2008.
  • Former Pirates manager Jim Tracy is recovering at a local hospital after collapsing at the hotel on Monday night.
  • A report surfaced not long ago saying that talks were heating up between the Orioles and Rays for a Jason Bartlett Nolan Reimold swap. If that comes to frutition, that would take Barlett off the Pirates’ list for potential shortstop upgrades.

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