Results tagged ‘ matt diaz ’
The Pirates are holding a mini-camp starting on Monday in Bradenton, Florida. The camp this year will be focused on conditioning and will run four days.
Those expected to attend (according to Jenifer Langosch) are:
Pitchers – Michael Crotta, Joel Hanrahan, Kevin Hart, Jeff Karstens, Brad Lincoln, Jeff Locke, Daniel McCutchen, James McDonald, Kyle McPherson, Evan Meek, Bryan Morris, Charlie Morton, Daniel Moskos, Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Resop, Aaron Thompson, Tony Watson
Catchers – Jason Jaramillo
Infielders – Pedro Ciriaco, Lyle Overbay, Steve Pearce, Josh Rodriguez, Neil Walker
Outfielders – Matt Diaz, Gorkys Hernandez, Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Alex Presley, Jose Tabata
Non Roster invites – Dusty Brown, Brian Burres, Josh Fields, Fernando Nieve, Justin Thomas, Cesar Valdez, Corey Wimberly
Pedro Alvarez and Chris Leroux are currently listed as maybes to attend.
With a start of a new year, it’s a clean slate for the Bucs, who endured 105 losses. The new season is right around the corner: Only 41 days until Pitchers and catchers report and 88 until opening day.
Here is a list of 11 things to look forward to in 2011:
11) Interleague series against the Boston Red Sox at PNC Park – Some of the die hard Pirates fans may not like the idea of facing the potent lineup of the Red Sox, but baseball fans in general will enjoy seeing the All-star lineups. Stars like Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett (the list goes on and on) will be in Pittsburgh –a glimpse of a possible 2011 playoff contender.
10) The new offseason acquisitions and how they impact the ball club – The Pirates made several signings this offseason in hopes to improve the team in 2011. Lyle Overbay will be the new everyday first baseman and Matt Diaz will platoon in right field with Garrett Jones.
Other signings include: Third baseman Andy Marte, short stop Josh Rodriguez, center fielder Corey Wimberly, left handers Scott Olsen, Kevin Correia and Aaron Thompson.
9) A better pitching rotation – The Pirates starters went 34-84 with a 5.28 ERA last season. The Bucs are hoping Ross Ohlendorf, and Paul Maholm will perform much better in 2011. New Pirate Kevin Correia also helps to improve the staff and James McDonald, who had great success since being acquired by the Dodgers, will round out the top four. Scott Olsen, Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln will be fighting for the fifth spot.
8) Number one draft pick- The Pirates lost 105 games last season, sealing the first pick in the 2011 draft. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is considered to the be the top talent. He finished 2010 at Rice University batting .394 with 26 home runs and 85 runs batted in.
7) Young prospects making their way through the system – Players like Tony Sanchez, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Andrew Lambo (to name a few) are getting closer to making their major league debuts while adding more young talent to the Pirates ball club.
6) Glimpes of solid arms in late 2011 – Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson and Daniel Moskos (reliever) could make their debuts as early as July. Bryan Morris and Jeff Locke are also two more starters that will make a impact on the Pirates rotation but it’s more likely to be in 2012.
5) Debuts of young aces- Jameson Tallion and Stetson Allie will be making their Pirates debut at Low-A West Virginia in 2011.
Tallion was selected second overall by the Bucs in the 2010 draft. The 6’7, 230 pound right hander’s fastball already reaches 94-99 on the gun and has “explosive movement” according to scouts. Tallion also has a plus curve (81-85) and breaking ball (84-88).
Allie has an even stronger arm. The 6’4, 225 pound right-hander throws both a two-seamer and four-seamer fastball that clocks regularly at 98. He also has an above average slider (87-91) and a change, with very good sink at 85-87.
4) Clint Hurdle managing the Bucs – Hurdle is exactly what the young Pirates need in a new skipper. He is very charismatic and passionate about baseball, smart, motivational and has past success in managing a young team. Hurdle is aware of the changes ahead and has said, “I’m all in.”
3) Ending the 18 year consecutive losing streak? -While it may be a long shot –the Pirates would need to have a 24 game improvement to finish .500– it still is possible. Example: The 2007 Tampa Bay Rays went 66-96, in 2008 they finished 97-65 –a 31 game improvement as well as a American League Championship title. The1991 Braves went 94-68 after finishing 65-97 in 1990. Tough, but not impossible.
2) The young Bucs continue to improve – Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker (all under 25) will continue to get better and better with more major league experience. Tabata and Walker finished their rookie seasons better than expected. Tabata had 121 hits in 102 games, Walker with 126 in 110 games. Both hit most of the season over .300 and finished .299 and .296 respectively. McCutchen in his first full major league season continued to be a hitting and running machine. He finished .286 while adding 94 runs, 16 home runs, 56 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.
1) Pedro Alvarez to become a superstar- Pedro finished his rookie campaign with a .256 average, 16 home runs and 64 RBI’s. If Alvarez’s month of September is a glimpse of what’s to come (.306 avg, 10 doubles, six home runs and 27 RBI in 29 games) Pirates fans should be excited for years to come. He has an ability to change the game with one swing –the three-run walk-off bomb against the Rockies made highlights and one of MLB Network’s top moments of the season. There’s no doubt he is a superstar in the making.
Incase you missed Hot Stove from Wednesday night, or perhaps you don’t get the channel, here is what the analysts from MLB Network had to say about the Pirates 2011 season (P.S. It’s not pretty).
Matt Yallof: “The Pirates. Every single year. It seems to get worse. 57 wins last year. That seems difficult to do.”
Bill Ripken: “You wonder what direction they’re heading in. Our friend Clint Hurdle is taking over this club. I think he’s going to bring an attitude and a positive mentality to this club. But for me, I look at the pitching staff. In all these years that they’ve finished down to the bottom of baseball, I’m wanting to know where that number one is. We mentioned [Steven] Strasburg when we talk about the Nationals. Now, he blew out his elbow and he got hurt. But when you draft, you draft a number one. You draft some cheddar. When I look at the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation, I’m kind of wondering, ‘where’s the heat’? I’m not saying heats everything because you can pitch to spots and you can locate. When everybody on your staff is throwing 91, 92, then you drop down below 90, throwing 86, 88. There’s not that one guy that actually wows me. [Charlie] Morton throws the hardest. When you’re looking at 93 topping out, I’m wanting to know, ‘where the heat is?’ If you didn’t draft it, and you go out and you pick out other guys that are kind of throwing the same, ‘where’s the heat?’ I want somebody in that rotation that’s going to make somebody swing and miss at a fastball and maybe get yourself out of a jam instead of giving up big innings.”
Pirates projected rotation (according to MLB Network)
James McDonald (4-6, 4.02 ERA in 2010)
Paul Maholm (9-15, 5.10 ERA in 2010)
Kevin Correia (10-10 5.40 ERA in 2010)
Scott Olsen (4-8, 5.56 ERA in 2010)
Ross Ohlendorf (1-11, 4.07 ERA in 2010)
Mitch Williams: “There has to be a guy on every staff that at some point in the game, can reach back and throw the ball 95, 96. If you’ve got two outs and the bases loaded, two strikes on a hitter, you have got to have that guy that can blow that hitter up. Pittsburgh does not have that guy. They have guys that throw hitting speed.”
Matt Yallof: “You know what, they’ve had their chances to draft guys of note and guys that do what you’re taking about but they’ve missed. They’ve had high draft picks over and over. That hurts. Look at the guys they’ve passed on. They’ve missed those type of guys.”
Pitchers drafted in first round by Pirates since 2002:
Drafted – Right hand pitcher Brad Lincoln
Missed on – Left hand pitcher Clayton Kershaw, right hand pitcher Tim Lincecum, Right hand pitcher Matt Scherzer
Drafted – Left hand pitcher Paul Maholm
Missed on – Left hand pitcher John Danks, Right hand pitcher Chad Billingsley
Drafted – right hand pitcher Brian Bullington
Missed on – Right hand pitcher Zach Greinke, left hand pitcher Cole Hamels
(*As a note: Kevin McClatchy and Dave Littlefield were the General Managers during this time. Since Neal Huntington took over as GM in September of 2007, the drafting and minor league system has done a complete 180. Huntington really hasn’t gotten enough credit for what he has done so far and how much better the organization is heading.)
Harold Reynolds: “That’s the easy stuff they’ve missed on. Those are the number one picks. It’s the guys in the fifth round, six round, that your scouting is suggesting and going after. They’ve done a nice job with some players that have come up as of late (Williams: “position players”). But they’ve really missed it on the pitching.”
Ripken: “That term that comes into baseball now: Sign ability. Some of that might be their hands are tied a little bit but boy when you see that list and some of those players they’ve passed up on, wow! They’d look a lot different.”
Reynolds: “If you look back at the ‘we are family pirates’ they were international. They were: Puerto Rico, Dominican, they may not have had the funds back then but they went in those countries and developed players. I still think they had the market cornered. That’s when everybody wanted to be a pirate.”
Williams: “They won the World Series with the ugliest hats in the history of baseball.”
Yallof: “Last winning season: 1992. It’s really hard to believe.”
Notable Transactions (by MLB Network)
First baseman – Lyle Overbay
Outfielder – Matt Diaz
Right hand pitcher – Kevin Correia
Left hand pitcher – Scott Olsen
Left hand pitcher – Zach Duke
Right hand pitcher – Chan Ho Park
Outfielder – Lastings Milledge
The Pirates have spent $17.75 M so far this offseason, #17 on the list of Major league clubs.
$8M contract for Kevin Correia, $5M contract for Lyle Overbay, $4.25M contract for Matt Diaz, and $500K contract for Scott Olsen.
So far, combined, MLB has spent a reported $1.2 billion in offseason signings.
MLB Trade Rumors reports the average per team is $40.28MM. The Red Sox alone have spent $828M this offseason.
You can see the entire list to see how your team stands here.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered fans questions in the final inbox of 2010. You can read the entire chat here.
With the signings of Overbay and Diaz, what are the Pirates plans with John Bowker?
If Doumit remains with the club, Bowker’s best shot at making the Major League club will be earning a spot as the team’s fifth outfielder. If Doumit is dealt before Spring Training, Bowker could be the Pirates’ fourth outfielder.
While the Pirates were pleased with Bowker’s showing last September, the reality is that he has never had sustained success at the Major League level. It was too risky for the club to have to count on Bowker to play in a semi-regular role given the lack of proven results above Triple-A.
Who do you see getting the closer’s job in 2011?
This was a question asked of general manager Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle at the Winter Meetings, and both avoided tipping their hand as to which way the club is leaning. Huntington said it is a decision that should be made before Spring Training, though he added that there could be a scenario in which both Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are used in the closer’s role. Hurdle said that he would prefer to pick one defined closer.
While I can see benefits of going to either one, I’d have to guess that the Pirates are going to go with Hanrahan. He has previous experience in the role and has a particularly nasty two-pitch mix that netted him 100 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings.
Garrett Jones made his Pirates debut in June of 2009, creating a buzz for the great rookie season he had. After spending over 10 years in the minors, Jones hit .293 with 21 home runs and 44 RBI in 82 games with the Bucs.
Jones has been the Pirates starting first baseman, and on occasion right fielder, since he was called up from the minor leagues. But after the signings of outfielder Matt Diaz and first baseman Lyle Overbay this offseason, Jones role in 2011 will be as a part-time player.
His stats were nothing like those of his rookie campaign. Jones finished the 2010 season with a .247 average, 21 home runs with 86 RBI –A .262 average against right-handers and just .220 against lefties. During the 2009 season, Jones hit .333 against right-handed pitching and .208 against left-handers.
General Manager Neal Huntington wanted to sign a strong bat over the offseason that could hit well against lefties to compliment Jones.
Since the offseason, Garrett has been spending his time trying to fix his swing and connect like he did in ’09.
“I’m going to make my swing sound and short so that I can get back in the swing of things when I do get into a funk,” Jones said. “When I did get in a funk swinging the bat, I wasn’t able to get out of it quick. You start thinking about your swing and thinking about taking a good swing, and you lose that aggression to go up there and just see the ball and attack it. That definitely hindered me a lot, too.”
“I need to control those downtimes and just get back to where I was when I was having success,” Jones said. “I just need to make sure I don’t think too much. I need to simplify things and that will keep me more successful throughout the year.
“I know my age is a little older, but it was also my first full season in the big leagues. I’m still young there. I learned a lot this year. I’m going to take it in stride and work hard and just make myself the most prepared that I can be.”
Matt Diaz is excited for the opportunity to be a part of something special and believes his roots make him a Pittsburgh kind of guy.
“I can’t wait to earn them as fans,” Diaz said. “They’ve been looking for something to cheer for in the summers. They’ve had plenty to cheer for in the winters. I’m ready to be a part of changing things around.”
Four teams were after Diaz, including the Bucs, but he said Clint Hurdle had a huge role in signing with the Pirates.
“The more I talked with Rangers players, they started singing [Pirates manager and former Rangers hitting coach] Clint Hurdle’s praises,” Diaz said. “Everyone was talking great about Clint.”
“Originally I viewed Pittsburgh as a place to go get at-bats and prove that I’m healthy,” Diaz said. “The more I talked to them, the more I realized that I could get at-bats and be a part of something really great. It was just a comfort thing, just a peace thing.”
The Pirates offered Diaz a one-year contract, but he asked for another year because he knew something good was going to happen in the Steel city.
“I said, ‘I would love to come in and help the young guys out as much as I can. But in 2012, I don’t want to be doing this all over again while you are having the time of your life,’” Diaz said. “We can have some fun in 2011 and really surprise some people with the plan they have in place. But I think 2012 can be special.”
Diaz, who at 32 is the oldest player on the roster, will take on a leadership role. He has played and learned from so many great players, he is happy to help the young bucs.
“I’ve been given so much in this game, and I was groomed by some pretty neat veterans in Kansas City and Tampa,” Diaz said. “If I can have some impact there to where I’m remembered after I’m gone, that will be a wonderful thing.
“The key for this young group is to take ownership of this team. It is going to be imperative for the older guys to really help and aid the young guys taking ownership of this team. They have to show that they’re willing to outwork other teams and leave it all on the field.”
Other News and Notes:
- Jose Tabata is hitting .353 (6-for-17) with a 1.165 OPS after his first six games of winter ball in Venezuela.
- Pirates prospect Jarek Cunningham, who was selected in the 18th round of the 2008 draft, will start the new year by blogging. Cunningham will give viewers an inside look at what life is like as a minor league player.
He made his debut for the Gulf Coast League batting .318 with 5 HR’s, and 22 RBI’s in 43 games. Last season, with West Virginia Power, he hit .258 with 12 HR’s and 49 RBI’s in 121 games.
For more information and where to catch his blog, click here.
- MLB’s minimum salary for 2011 will now be $414,000 per year.
The Pirates officially announce a two-year deal with outfielder Matt Diaz. The news of the agreement came a week ago, during the winter meetings. The contract is reported to be worth $4.2 million ($2M in 2010 and 2012 plus a $250,000 signing bonus). Diaz has a career .335 batting average and .533 slugging percentage against left-handers over eight major league seasons.
Diaz will platoon in right with Garrett Jones (.282 hitter against right-handers). Ryan Doumit and John Bowker are also back-up options for the Bucs.
Diaz says he is excited to join the Pirates:
On why the Pirates were the right choice:
“Really Clint Hurdle. Met with him at the winter meetings. I talked to him once on the phone before that. He and Neal Huntington came In and gave a great presentation on where the organization is heading. So that was very important for me to go back and ask them for a second year to be a part of it. I think we are going to surprise some people. I really think by 2012, you’re really going to see this young core of players really mesh together and really make a run at this thing.”
Diaz, who has known Andrew McCutchen since he was in 8th grade, said, “He is the most underrated superstar in baseball.”
On what he thinks about playing at PNC Park: “I like hitting the ball to right center and I like the way the ball carries here. Hopefully it will be a friendly park for me to hit in, a friendly park for me to play defense in and hopefully produce some runs so we can win some games.”
On his dream of playing in a world series: “I know people in Pittsburgh nation will laugh, but, hopefully in the next couple of years we can do that.”
Other News and Notes:
- The Pirates two-year deal with pitcher Kevin Correia should be finalized later this week. In order for him to be put on the 40-man roster, the Bucs must remove someone, as it is full.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Trib reports: The Pirates are stepping up efforts to trade Ryan Doumit, who’s bumped down now to a $5.1 M bench player, backup catcher.
- According to Jesse Behr of Baseball Prospectus, he is “Hearing whispers of a Ryan Doumit-for-Marco Scutaro deal”. Scutaro in 2010 with the Red Sox hit 11 home runs, 56 RBI with a .275 average.
The Pirates have officially announced the signing of outfielder Matt Diaz.
Diaz has agreed to a two-year deal worth $4.25 million.
The 32-year-old crushes lefties, batting .335 batting average and has a .533 slugging percentage in his eight year big league career.
Diaz is expected to platoon in right field with Garrett Jones, who hits well against righties — a .282 career average.
On a Atlanta radio show, Diaz said that Clint Hurdle is the real deal and the Pirates are going to surprise people.
The Pirates are pushing hard in order to trade Ryan Doumit according to sources. The club is also willing to pay some of his salary. Doumit is due to make $5.1 million for the 2011 season. He also has options for 2012 ($7.25 M) and 2013 ($8.25 M).
Just days ago General Manager Neal Huntington said Doumit would be the Pirates starting right fielder and back-up catcher for 2011. With the signing of Matt Diaz, who would play the majority of his time playing in right, makes Doumit more expendable.
If traded, Doumit could bring back some prospects in return. If he stays for next season the Pirates would be paying roughly $11 million for two catchers (which is pretty high considering the Bucs payroll projecting at $50 million).