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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Pirates Claim First Baseman Lewin Diaz from Marlins

According to Craig Mish, who covers the Miami Marlins, the Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed 26-year-old first baseman Lewin Diaz, who was designated for assignment six days ago. The Pirates will need to open up a 40-man roster spot to add him.

Diaz has played parts of three seasons in the majors with little success. His 2021 season was worth 0.8 WAR, giving him a total of 0.1 WAR over the 2020-22 seasons, but his offense has been below replacement level all three seasons. In 112 big league games during that time, Diaz has a .181/.227/.340 slash line, with a 28.9% strikeout rate and 13 homers. He’s a 6’4″, 217 pound lefty hitter, who has put up positive dWAR numbers in all three seasons, leading to the overall positive number. Diaz has shown solid contact rates coming up through the minors, helping him to an .829 OPS over 156 games in Triple-A during the 2021-22 seasons. That Triple-A success at the plate has yet to translate to the majors.

Assuming Diaz can get things to click in the majors, he would probably best serve as the first baseman with Ji-Man Choi as the DH. They’re both lefty hitters, but there’s a big difference in their defensive numbers. Diaz has to hit first for that to be an issue.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Y2JGQ2

Guys- I know these tiny moves irritate you because that’s come to be all you expect from the Pirates these last few years, but EVERY team makes these moves to make their weakest spots a little better with zero cost whenever they can, while ALSO looking for ways to make their team better significantly when they see an opportunity. These types of moves are not a problem in any way, shape, or form. Everyone complaining NEEDS to realize that we had to stay slim the last couple years to allow our prospects to get here without being blocked. Now, lets see us sign a halfway decent catcher, another first baseman, and a veteran starting pitcher.

SBRO

Dreker: “Diaz has to hit first for that to be an issue.”

Shelton: “I beg to differ…”

bradlej31

From April of last year:

“The Twins asked Díaz to shed some weight heading into the 2018 season and he lost so much that the following year much of the strength that had made him an interesting prospect in the first place had been sapped away. Over time, he was able to add muscle and not only recapture the power he had early in his pro career — resulting in a 2019 offensive renaissance — but do so while retaining the slick defensive ability he flashed as an amateur before he got big.
Díaz is a plus athlete, which is incredible for someone his size, and his infield feet, hands, and actions are all plus as well. He has a low hand load and a bat path geared for hitting breaking balls and low pitches, and over the course of watching him in the big leagues and at length during his time playing for Estrellas Orientales, I’m pretty scared that big league arms will be able to get him out with velocity at the top of the strike zone. You could argue that Díaz is actually in a pretty good position to hit in an environment that looks like it might soon feature more breaking pitches than fastballs, but if pitchers can beat him with topside velo, that’s how they’ll attack him. The low-end outcome here is a career like James Loney 로니‘s, with well-below average offense for the position but great defense. Eric Hosmer is the higher-end version of this.”

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

I almost guarantee they got Diaz because he’s a really good defensive 1B who’ll be a big target at 6’4 for Cruz’s throws. He’ll probably get the Yoshi treatment and get a solid 50 games no matter how he hits. Buckle up!

AdministrativeSky236

I very much so did want somebody with those attributes, but ideally with a bit more offensive presence

NMR

I fetishized James Loney in the build up to those ’13-’15 clubs for exactly this reason…truly groundhog day as a Pirate fan.

NMR

lol, just read the comment above that comped Diaz to Loney. Can’t make this stuff up.

adicesa14

Incomprehensible!

forkball

Underwhelming.

Mblee24

I don’t think there’s anyway this guy sticks. He has no bat at all, I could see him being waived in a few weeks.

jaygray007

Is there any way to hold andujar and diaz on a roster without having then penciled in every day? I guess it’s probably not doable with 13 position players.

Last edited 14 days ago by jaygray007
NMR

Priced out of Cody Bellinger in the broke-ass first baseman market.

bianco599

Always like your comments. For some reason I hoped they may try and sign him. Haven’t you seen Phish in concert?

NMR

75 times.

*blushes*

bianco599

Had a friend just see them. May have to dive more into their music. All I know is Bouncing Around the Room. Give me a good one to give a listen to.

NMR

Try to find their documentary Bittersweet Motel and listen to A Live One and if you don’t absolutely hate it, go experience a show with your buddy.

bianco599

Found it on Youtube. Will give A Live One a go after I put the kids to bed. Have a good Thanksgiving.

NMR

you too buddy!

EightMenOut

Moving positional players in and out of the bottom off the 40-man roster is ok, whatever. I still think acquiring a couple of proven starting pitchers is what will show what the front office is willing to do to have an mlb competitive team. This is the year to add them.

JRIcentral

Someone has to come off the 40-MR. Right? Vilade maybe?

EightMenOut

Or Park

bianco599

Didn’t realize (pay enough attention to) how bad his numbers were for a 26 yr old “prospect”

jaygray007

My confusion about this just kinda highlights how hard it probably will be for a team to take Nunez in the R5. Taking a shot on Lewin Diaz is fine – the minor league numbers and the defense are an interesting package – but it just sucks for roster building

Last edited 14 days ago by jaygray007
1979andCounting

There’s only ONE way this is fine…….and that’s if it’s a Milb contract. Goin’ to be sayin this all winter……we need 13 position players to come north that are actual MLB players.

DangerWilRobnsn

Will this team EVER have a +WAR, +UZR guy at 1B? They might as well play with an eight player starting lineup.

Wilbur Miller

Wouldn’t it be something if BC made a truly radical move and acquired an actual good player? You know, like the 29 major league teams do. Afterward, we wouldn’t have to send out an archaeological expedition to dig for some little factoid that we could latch onto as a silver lining. Like, this guy hit .265 against curve balls thrown by left-handed koala bears. Or, he got a good scouting report four years ago when he was playing in the Florida Tiki Bar Association. Maybe the Pirates can build on that . . . .

GreenWeenie

But would Nutting let him spend the money?

capirate

But if he acquired an actual good player, most of us fans would fall over dead from shock. He is just looking out for our health!

mikeschalke

Acquire an actual good player? Radical is not the word I’d use. Unprecedented would be my choice.

mpg43952

That might be the smart, competitive way, but it’s not the Pirate way, amigo.

PirateRican21

We are winning the off-season and is not even close!

RAS TN

Still working with Waste Management…

TNBucs

Since Diaz is out of options, my preference would have been to roster Nunez. But we’ll see how it works out—hopefully they’re right that Nunez won’t be claimed.

emjayinTN

It’s a dumb-assed move for a GM to make. Nunez did very well at AA and then at AAA. It’s part of my belief that BC would rather dance around picking up leftovers from others than commit to a young player who has done very well for us already.

leefieux

At least Lewin plays good defense. Wewon’t know how to act with a 1b man who can actually field.

emjayinTN

+5 DRS last year, +9 in 2021.

Danatural08

Due to following him for so long, I’ve been hoping for Mason martin to get a look, but this definitely doesn’t help (nor did his K rate or slash line).

FWIW, Diaz projects slightly better offensively than Martin next year, & guessing Diaz’s defense projects better as well.

Prefer the bucs give bounce back chances to left hand batters so I guess i’m ok with it, but not a big fan of his swing from watching video on Youtube.

MB21

The worse news is that BC is talking interest in another external option for middle infield. Can’t we just sort out Cruz, Bae, Castro, Park, Marcano and then Peguero and Gonzales? Are we going to be stuck with another (don’t say it – VM)?

TNBucs

Hopefully it’s just talk and Cherington realizes he can’t trust Shelton with a Chavis or Van Meter on the roster.

JimEastTennessee

sigh

Anthony

Could just be a hedge against losing Nunez in Rule 5.

docdon385

Possible to see it that way but if so it’s just another step backward. This guy’s a 26y/o who’s probably about at his potential while Nunez is a 21y/o who’s still young and developing. If it’s a trade off, it’s a bad one.

Anthony

It’s not a trade off; it’s a hedge for tail risk. The tail risk here is the UNLIKELY probability that Nunez gets picked. When event (rule 5) risk passes, the hedge can “come off”. This will likely result in Diaz’s eventual DFA, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this strategy was also used with Vilade.

Last edited 14 days ago by Anthony
Wilbur Miller

There was an easier way to hedge against that.

melkel

Yep, couldn’t give up that 40 man spot last week. The only reason I don’t hate this move is that Diaz might get through BCs favorite acquisition platform. If he can figure out how to hit we have something. Wishful thinking on my part.

leefieux

The Bucs don’t do ANYTHING ‘easy’ (to somewhat quote Tina Turner).

steve_zielinski

Up vote for the Tina Turner reference!

bianco599

They give up runs pretty easy. And lose. And they easily are the most embarrassing team I love. But “what’s love got to do with it”.

leefieux

I made it too ‘easy’ for you.

bianco599

Would keep up with the Tina references but only know a few of her songs. Simply the best (which the Pirates certainly aren’t) and the Proud Mary cover. I do remember being enchanted by her legs in music videos as a kid.

leefieux

She did have some legs!

bianco599

Bet she still does. Not literally but in a way I will always remember.

RaisetheJollyRancherGirl

What’s Love Got to Do With (Being a Pirates fan)

Anthony

Go on…

Bryan Hall

If you are going to try Andujar at first base it wouldn’t hurt to have a late inning defensive replacement. Otherwise, meh.

skliesen

He may not be able to hit better than Chavis, but he’s better with the glove. So I guess that’s a step in right direction. I guess.

Wilbur Miller

From no-hit no-field first basemen to no-hit good-field. I’m sure that’s BC’s idea of progress,

1979andCounting

My gosh…….I thought we “might” be moving past these kind of signings at 1B in year 4. We do not need to take anymore flyers on below Repl Level players, especially at 1B.

robertkasperski

To me this is a kind of claim that is made for the back up plan if you can’t acquire a better player. If the can persuade/coerce a better FA 1B to sign or able to find a trade. Lewin can be the easy DFA to make room when a better option is found.

1979andCounting

But it’s November! If you’re a real MLB front office, you work on your Plan A roster. Back up fall back options can easily be had in late Feb or March. It’s this ongoing timid, conservative approach that I can’t support.

Anthony

This claim, in no way, affects their ability to construct a Plan A or B or C roster. This move IS simply managing your current roster at the fringes and insuring against any tail (unlikely) risk of losing a player in rule 5.

Guys likes Vilade and Diaz are fungible and can easily be DFA’d if/when other options arise. OTOH, Nunez is NOT. Although considered a “prospect”, his position carries an unlikely profile of being picked in rule 5. If added to the 40-man, he would be a permanent fixture, not to mention prematurely losing option-ability in terms of years.

Anyone advocating to add Nunez to the 40-man would equally be advocating to allocate approximately 15% of your rostered position players to 1B assuming the eventual addition of a RH platoon partner for Choi. This would be a gross error in roster construction and management.

1979andCounting

Key phrase “at the fringes”……..Since the WS I’ve seen very few teams making fringe moves……..checks mlbtraderumors. You’re portraying BC as “smartest guy in the room” for loading up the 40-man on flotsam at this stage of the offseason? As Pirate fans, we all need to get our heads out of the sand and see how the other 27-28 MLB teams operate, otherwise your vision becomes blurred.

AdministrativeSky236

That just means Rizzo was plan A! Since we just nearly missed out on him we must go to plan D for Diaz

robertkasperski

We’ll plan B was available now and may not be still available if what they are working on for plan A does not work out. Plan B might then be someone like that Meter guy……

melkel

I don’t hate it, but isn’t the corner positions suppose to hit and up the middle positions field.

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