For the second day in a row, the Oakland Athletics are bringing in a utility player to bolster the infield mix, signing veteran Aledmys Diaz to a two-year deal worth north of $14MM.
The righty-swinging Diaz figures to be a prominent piece when Oakland faces left-handed pitching. Fellow infielders Tony Kemp, Seth Brown, and the newly acquired Jace Peterson are all left-handed so the A’s definitely needed a steady right-handed bat that could platoon with one or more of those players, and Diaz fits that bill. He hit .255/.313/.424 over his four years for the division rival Houston Astros, but generally hits a bit better than that against left-handed pitching.
He’ll likely play all over the diamond over the course of the year, but the A’s are probably expecting him to mainly bounce between second and third base for the moment. He does have a lot of experience at shortstop, but hasn’t generally graded out well there and should be viewed more as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option in case anything happens to starting shortstop Nick Allen. Diaz also got a lot of time in left field last year so don’t be surprised to see his name penciled in there from time to time, as well.
The $14.5MM isn’t chump change for this club right now, either, which tells you how much the front office wanted Diaz on the roster. They really don’t seem to have much if any faith in Jonah Bride, Dermis Garcia, Jordan Diaz, or Ernie Clement, the only other right-handed infielders on the roster at the moment.
This move is incredibly similar to the move yesterday to bring in Peterson and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more low-cost moves like this to bolster the roster. Like with Peterson, Diaz could be seen as a potential trade candidate come the summer, but for now, Oakland has a new right-handed platoon bat to add to the infield mix.