The Braves have acquired first baseman Lewin Díaz from the Orioles for cash, according to announcements from both teams. Atlanta’s 40-man roster count jumps to 39.
Díaz has bounced around the league in the past few weeks. Designated for assignment by the Marlins in advance of the deadline to add prospects to the 40-man to keep them out of the Rule 5 draft, Díaz has moved from the Pirates to the Orioles on successive waiver claims. Baltimore took him off their roster yesterday upon signing Mychal Givens, and his stint in the organization proves exceptionally brief.
Atlanta is near the bottom of the waiver order, so they jumped the line by sending some cash to Baltimore. In the process, they’ll add a player who’s clearly of interest to a few teams around the league. Díaz hasn’t managed much of an MLB track record, but he’s shown enough as a minor leaguer to have some appeal to clubs.
A left-handed hitting first baseman, he’s managed just a .181/.227/.340 line in 112 MLB games with Miami. Díaz took a personal-high 174 trips to the plate in 2022, posting a .169/.224/.288 slash with a 31% strikeout rate. He showed better during a more extended stretch at Triple-A Jacksonville, hitting .252/.323/.492 with 19 home runs and a 20.4% strikeout percentage across 368 plate appearances.
An aggressive offensive approach has given Díaz problems to this stage of his MLB career. He was a quality prospect for an extended stretch in the Miami farm system, though, with evaluators praising his power upside and defensive acumen. Public metrics like Defensive Runs Saved and Statcast’s Outs Above Average have loved his glovework during his 753 2/3 MLB innings to date. He’s exclusively a first baseman, so despite the quality of his defense, he’ll need the bat to carry him if he’s to hold a roster spot. Atlanta obviously has Matt Olson entrenched at the position; Díaz will try to carve out a depth role behind him.
The 26-year-old is out of minor league option years. If the Braves carry him on their 40-man roster for the rest of the offseason, they’ll have to keep him in the majors or again expose him to other teams. It’s possible Atlanta tries to sneak him through waivers at some point before Spring Training, though no team has yet been successful in that attempt.