In an article at the P-G, Nubyjas Wilborn reported that Pirates catcher Elias Diaz is out with an undisclosed illness and may not recover in time to be ready for Opening Day. Wilborn’s cited source was team trainer Todd Tomczyk, who said that Diaz will be “limited to no activities for a couple of weeks,” and will be evaluated on a “week to week” basis.
In a separate tweet, Wilborn said that the illness was viral in nature. Diaz had initially been held out of workouts on 2/20, though the severity of his malady was not made clear at that time. With Diaz out, Jacob Stallings will be the clear choice as the team’s backup catcher, rendering the dilemma around how to handle Stallings’s out-of-options status a moot point until such time as the Venezuelan backstop is ready to return.
Losing a significant contributor for an extended period of time is never a good thing, and in retrospect it seems lucky that the Pirates’ reported efforts to trade Francisco Cervelli over the offseason did not come to fruition. Situations like this one underscore the importance of a team doing due diligence in acquiring viable depth options, insofar as Steven Baron is now one heartbeat away from the 25-man roster, as well as demonstrating the potential hidden cost of financially motivated moves like the trade of Ivan Nova.
I’m sure that all Pirates fans will join the Bucs Dugout staff in wishing Diaz a smooth and speedy recovery from whatever currently afflicts him.