For what that’s worth

Braves acquire outfielder Matt Diaz from Kansas City

Diaz (actually, a catcher/first baseman/outfielder, though he’s played exclusively corner outfield in the majors) has some impressive minor league numbers. However, those stats werre mostly compiled from the ages of 25-27, and I’m suspicious of players who only start hitting when they’re old for the level. Moreover, his walk numbers are pretty bad; though he’s had some impressive on-base percentages, those are driven by high batting averages, and I’m also suspicious of guys who rely upon batting average for their value.

Still, he’s a righthanded hitter who’s been productive in the high minors. I wouldn’t be opposed to him as a platoon first baseman and pinch-hitter. But I’m also suspicious of Schuerholz’s trades with the Royals, which have had a tendency to be the only good trades the Royals make, like he’s doing them a favor.

Ricardo Rodriguez, the player the Braves gave up, isn’t anything as far as I can judge, just a 24 year old reliever who has a chance to be 25 this April. A converted infielder, so I guess there’s room for improvement, but he put up a 5.34 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in Myrtle Beach last year. As a rule, if you can’t pitch in Myrtle Beach you just can’t pitch. His strikeout numbers are pretty good.

Matt Diaz – Baseball Statistics – Biography, Minor League Stats and Baseball Cards

41 thoughts on “For what that’s worth”

  1. Great. Now keep that pipeline open and grab Calvin Pickering!!! We can get him for a box o’ Bisquick for chrissakes!

    Seriously. KC hates him.

    I see David Ortiz-lite potential. KC gave him all of one week to start last year and cut bait (7 Games and 27 at-bats).

    Sure, they were awful at-bats, but might he have…pressing?! With Bobby’s guidance, I think he’d be a slam dunk addition.

  2. Mac – thanks for fixing my post in the previous thread. You’d think a guy who makes his living as a software engineer would learn html….aaah, that’s another thing I’m never gonna do.

    Anyway, I’d say he’s worth a look see. I am somewhat surprised the organization sees anything though – he’s sort of the opposite kind of player they take a usually flier on.

  3. I am somewhat surprised the organization sees anything though – he’s sort of the opposite kind of player they take a usually flier on.

    Yeah, that’s a large part of why I think it might have been a favor. “Jeez, Jon, I DFAd this guy and nobody wants him. You got anything?” “Heck, Al, I’ll give you a live arm. Take this Rodriguez kid, he can fill out the roster in Wichita and you can look like you got something.” “Jeez, thanks Jon.”

  4. I tell you though, maybe, just maybe, the home team has realized the elephant in the room is getting enough offense from the corner OF positions. KJ/Langerhans are never going to be Brian Giles, and while Francouer clearly has a nice career ahead of him, his second half has to give one pause. He may well need some time in AAA next year (sacrilege!) to learn the strike zone as much as he’s ever going to learn it. Somebody needs to post a full season OPS over 800 out there or we are going to struggle at the bottom 5 of the lineup.

  5. Damning Diaz with faint praise, at least he might be better than Jordan/Mondesi for a lot less money. I hope that the same scouts that told Schuerholz that Jordan/Mondesi had something left weren’t the same guys that sold him on Diaz.

    Spike you are correct. The Braves have lately been able to let the corner OF and 1B positions have less power because they could count on power from the middle infielders. With Gile’s showing that his 20 hr season was an aberation and Renteria who is more of a 10 to 12 hr hitter than Furcal who was a 15 to 18 hr hitter in the middle they are going to have to upgrade at LF and 1B and hope that Francouer can put up a .270 .335 .480 line or so. With the raises due the arbs and the crazy as hell market I suspect that there will be a lot of thinking outside the box as JS puts it.

    I still want to believe in KJ. I think that .285 .370 or higher plus .485 or so slugging isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

  6. That .370 OBP is going to be tough, considering he’s never gotten over .350 for a full season. Still, it’s the offseason, where hope begins, and he is just 24.

  7. On a seperate topic, I think Garciaparra will hurt his hand early next season when catching a bullet throw from Furcal.

  8. Or he’ll collide with J.D. Drew in shallow right. Then Gagne will twist his ankle coming off the mound to help out. I can’t wait.

  9. Actually, Johnson had a .404 on-base percentage in 124 games for Macon in 2001. For that matter, it was .334 last year in the majors even though he hit .241; if he hits .270 I’m pretty sure his OBP will be over .350, maybe closer to .400 than to .350.

  10. Or Furcal’s throw will hit Garciaparra’s head because Garciaparra has never seen someone throwing that hard before.

    I am sure Furcal’s error totals will go back up again next season.

  11. Personally, I think Kelly Johnson will be a very good hitter in the near future. I am just concerned about his defensive ability in left field. He is so afraid of hitting the wall…

  12. I second Smitty’s remark. I think Aaron Rodgers’ first trip to the huddle tonight probably involved some introductions. “Hi! I’m Aaron Rodgers! Are you the center?” He should have been in there weeks ago. Only Green Bay can make Kyle Boller look like Drew Brees.

    The MNF matchups this year have been astonishingly bad. As a Pats fan I’m glad they’re on next week since I hardly ever get to see them, but “Tom Brady and the Patriots take on Brooks Bollinger and the Jets!” doesn’t really get my adrenaline racing. This week was almost as bad as the game where Seattle was up 35-0 by halftime.

  13. Well jenny, if you look at the MNF lineup in the context of the pre-preseason, then it doesn’t look that bad. But injuries have really depleted a lot of the teams that were predicted to really shine this year, like the Jets, Packers, Ravens, etc.

    I’m cautiously optimistic about this trade. I have no expectations of it, so if Diaz can get on base once, then I think this deal was a good one.

  14. In regards to KJ’s defense: I remember reading somewhere that Kelly Johnson had the best range for LF in the majors. I’ll post the link when I find it.

  15. Andrew, do you realize that is the biggest bs I read the entire year? That tells you how terrible the range statistic is. I will say KJ has better range at left field than Chipper and Klesko though!

  16. KJ plays 5 steps from the warning track — I think he just happened to have a lot of balls hit to him is all. No good outfielder plays that deep in a park of regular dimensions.

  17. it looks as though this guy tore up the minors, and then has some type of phobia when he gets to the majors. maybe, just maybe, he can put up those impressive stats for us this coming year.

  18. Count me among the “pretty optimistic” crowd. Diaz isn’t a superstar by any means, but he provides a true platoon partner for either Johnson or Langerhans and makes the other packagable (perhaps with a starter for a closer?)

    Kelly Johnson was Chipper Jones in the minors. He killed Macon (?), got hurt, struggled coming back from injury while learning the OF (he was originally a SS), and then killed Richmond. I am cautiously optimistic about his potential as ML LF. Langerhans is a centerfielder. He will never slug enough to cover the corners, IMHO.

    Even if this was a “favor” deal with KC, it’s a favor in which the Braves gave up nothing (Ricardo Rodriguez is worth about exactly the value of not having to wait to see if someone else claims Diaz before you) and got a useful part in return.

  19. KJ was one of the top rated LFs in both ZR and David Gassko of THT’s “Range.” I agree w/ sansho wrt why.

  20. This is weird. The same day Atlanta trades a Ricardo Rodriguez to the Royals, the Phillies acquire a Ricardo Rodriguez from Texas to complete the Padilla deal.

  21. Why the big concern over KJ’s defense? If KJ can hit/get on base it doesn’t matter. Below average defense in LF doesn’t lose you a lot of games. I agree with Mac. If he hits .270-.275 and still walks like he does then he is a damn site better than say Jaques Jones.

  22. If KJ becomes more aggresive at the plate, then I think he can be a good major league hitter. It might make take away some of his walks, but if he can hit for more power, then its a fair tradeoff.

  23. Mac, it is time for another “Road to Bristol” thing. I vote we do “athletes we are tired of seeing” this time.

  24. Buenos! Diaz!

    Rico Rodriguez actually was an IF for the first few years of his minor league career.

    If you think KJ plays too deep, there was a guy named Jesus Vega who had a couple of cups of coffee with the Twins in the early-to-mid 1980s. He was a 1B mostly, but Billy Gardner had this penchant for picking his line-ups out of a hat periodically (at least it seemed that way) and was so old school that he thought anyone with two legs and one arm could play LF.

    He put Vega out in LF and–I kid you not–the guy lined up with his heels touching the warning track. When asked by reporters why he played so deep, he replied (paraphrasing here with that old Little League saw), “It’s easier to come in on a ball than go back on one.”

    Granted, this was when the Metrodome was brand new and the sightlines and visibility were terrible. And no “Baggy” in RF. Cheap HR after cheap HR.

  25. I think Johnson has the potential to be a Mike Greenwell at the top end and that would be pretty darn good.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see an outfield of Johnson-Jones-Langerhans get the majority of starts for us next year.

  26. I like Langerhans a lot, but he is a fourth outfielder, and Johnson definitely has the higher upside of those two. Francouer is a special athlete, he will be in there from start to finish.

  27. Time for today’s Bogus Trade Rummor.
    The mall santa told me the Braves, Tigers, Indians and Pirates are in a four team discussion.

    ATL-sends LaRoche and KJ to Detroit. HR to Pittsburgh. Chuck James to Cleveland
    DET-sends Fleix Rodney to ATL, prospect to Pitts.
    CLE-sends Casey Blake to ATL, Rafael Betancourt to Pitt
    Pitt- sends Oliver Perez to ATL,Jody Gerutto DET and Ty Wigginton to Cleveland

  28. Also the big hole in that trade is Pittsburgh only getting HR in return for Perez. Don’t think they will go for that.

  29. Nice rumor. Too bad Wigginton was DFAed about two weeks ago.

    Plus, there are too many guys with two first names: Felix Rodney, Chuck James, and Casey Blake. That overshoots the two-first name quota by two.

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