With today being the last day that teams can acquire players for their playoff rosters, the Pirates sent Matt Diaz back to Atlanta today with a little bit of cash for a player to be named later. It’s possible that the cash will cover Diaz’s 2012 salary and the Pirates could, in return, get a very marginal prospect back for Diaz, but I’m guessing that the player is going to be named, “You Should Be Thankful We’re Taking This Guy Away From You and Helping You Out With Your Roster Crunch Since You Gave This Washed Up Bum a Two-Year Deal.” (Presumably, he’s foreign.)
Diaz was one of those acquisitions that worked in theory when it happened, but never panned out on the field. The idea that Garrett Jones isn’t an every day player and that he shouldn’t play against lefties is sound. The idea that a 33-year old who’d had two bad years in his previous seasons coming into 2011 was going to be the guy to spell him was not and it was something that I was pretty iffy about from day one, though I’ll admit that the signing turned out even worse than I expected it would over the winter. Diaz wasn’t awful against lefties (.295/.342/.362), but he was just brutal against righties and his power has deserted him completely. That made him a wasted roster spot and probably a sure thing to be released after the season, even though he was signed through 2012. He’s pretty much a mortal lock to bomb a home run in his first at-bat as a Brave.
The Pirates also sent John Bowker to the Phillies for a player to be named and it looks like the Phillies are putting Bowker on their active roster so that he’s a playoff option for them. Bowker is, admittedly, almost certainly a Quad-A player, but there’s absolutely no way to know that from the way the Pirates used him. When they acquired him from San Francisco at last year’s non-waiver trade deadline, Bowker was a bit old but had been lighting up Triple-A for the better part of two years and it seemed like he’s made some impressive strides with plate patience and cut down on strikeouts. He continued to hit well with Indianapolis even after leaving the hitter-friendly PCL, but only got 96 plate appearances with the Pirates. Like I said, I don’t expect him to amount to much as a big leaguer, but with all of the at-bats that the Pirates threw away on Diaz and Overbay and Xavier Paul this year, I’m disappointed they never got Bowker a longer look.