New Royals general manager Dayton Moore continued Monday to do whatever he can to improve his organization for the future, trading 38-year-old Matt Stairs to the Rangers. Continuing a theme of most of Moore’s initial deals, Kansas City acquired a promising if erratic arm in Triple-A righthander Joselo Diaz.
Stairs, 38, is batting .261/.352/.429 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 77 games this season. His power has been on the decline in recent years, but his on-base skills remain intact and he’s generally considered a plus in the clubhouse. He offers little on the basepaths or in the field and is mainly a DH at this point. He’s signed to a one-year, $1.35 million contract, so the Rangers aren’t picking up much salary either. Stairs should welcome a playoff run, since he has not been part of the postseason since his salad days in Oakland from 1998-2000. He’s a career .266/.360/.486 hitter with 215 homers and 732 RBIs in 1,376 games.
Diaz, 26, originally signed with the Dodgers as a catcher out of the Dominican Republic in 1996. He went to the Mets in a 2003 trade for Jeromy Burnitz, and New York included him in the infamous Scott Kazmir deal a year later. Diaz signed with the Rangers as a minor league free agent this offseason. He has worked in Double-A and Triple-A with the Rangers this season, putting up impressive numbers: 2-0, 2.40 in 64 innings, giving up a .198 average and two homers while walking 42 and striking out 75. He has shown mid-90s heat and also a splitter that helps him attack lefthanders. However, his lack of fastball command has vexed him throughout his career and relgates him to a marginal role. He has 289 walks in 376 career minor league innings.