Matt Diaz became a significant player for the Atlanta Braves in the second half of the 2009 season, and now he's going to be paid accordingly.
The Braves signed Diaz to a one-year, $2.55 million dollar contract Friday, avoiding arbitration.
Diaz hit .313 last season with 13 home runs and 58 RBI in 371 at bats, with a .390 on base percentage. After Jeff Francoeur was traded to the Mets, Diaz became the primary right fielder and hit .321 after the All Star Break with 9 home runs and 36 RBI in 215 at bats.
The Braves are currently looking for another right-handed batter or two to add to the outfield. And with phenom Jason Heyward on the way for right field, Diaz might be the perfect player to be there until the future star is ready to take over the position.
In his four seasons with Atlanta, Diaz has hit .316 with 34 home runs and 149 runs batted in. Diaz bounced back nicely last season after missing most of the 2008 campaign.
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on
WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Braves Show Talk Show. Shanks writes a weekly baseball column for The Macon Telegraph and is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. You can email Bill at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.