Rob Biertempfel reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are now targeting corner outfielders following the non-tender of Lastings Milledge. Biertempfel mentions that two players on the radar are recently non-tendered Matt Diaz and Jack Cust.
Diaz is coming off a year where he hit for a .250/.302/.438 line in 224 at-bats for the Braves. That was following a season where he hit for a .313/.390/.488 line in 371 at-bats. Diaz is a career .301/.350/.456 hitter. He is especially strong against left handers, with a .335/.373/.533 line against lefties in his career, compared to a .269/.327/.382 line against right handers. He would be a strong option to pair with Garrett Jones, and would be a good bat off the bench.
Cust is coming off a .272/.395/.438 line in 349 at-bats in 2010. He’s got a career .245/.378/.452 line. Prior to the 2010 season, he had 25+ homers per season from 2007-2009. Cust is horrible defensively, although on offense he could be considered the poor man’s Adam Dunn. Cust is the opposite of Diaz, with a strong .253/.387/.480 line in his career against right handers, compared to a .225/.350/.372 line against lefties.
Diaz and Cust would make a strong platoon, although the Pirates already have options on the roster who can either hit left handed or right handed pitching, and even with that, the team has avoided platoon situations thus far. Diaz might be best suited for a platoon situation, due to his defense being a bit better.
Biertempfel also reports that Neal Huntington wants to bring back Donald Veal and Brian Burres, and feels optimistic on both fronts.