SARASOTA—A most complicated offseason for Lewin Diaz is over, and his job is to try to make the Orioles’ Opening Day roster.
In six weeks this offseason, Díaz moved from his 2022 team, the Miami Marlins, to the Pittsburgh Pirates, to the Orioles, who traded him to Atlanta three weeks later. Twelve days after that, the Orioles claimed him off waivers a second time, but they designated him again six days later.
This time, Diaz passed through waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, and he’s in spring training as a non-roster player, one of several left-handed hitting first baseman in camp.
“It was very complicated, a lot of movement,” Díaz said through a translator. “It was something that I’d never been through in my career, so there was a lot going on, to say the least, but towards the end of hat, I was like, ‘now, it’s going to slow down for sure.’”
Díaz spent parts of the last three seasons with the Marlins, hitting .181 in 113 games. In 2022, he hit .158 with five homers and 11 RBIs.
“At a certain point, it did become frustrating,” he said of the movement. “At the beginning, I was kind of like, it was something I can’t control so why would I get frustrated over it, but towards the end when it kept happening, it got to the point where I started getting frustrated over it.”
During the six-week movement frenzy, Díaz took out his frustration by playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic.
“I would say playing in the D.R.was sort of my refuge, getting those phone calls towards the very end,” he said. “Once they became a little frustrating playing in the D.R. definitely helped me get through that. I had a coach over there who’d give me advice and tips and who helped me get through that situation, so I would say without a doubt, playing in the D.R. helped me get through all of that.”
Díaz wondered where he would play this season but was relieved to find out he’d stay with the Orioles after he was taken off the 40-man roster when left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez was claimed.
“After they DFA’d me for the last time I was to the point where I was like,’ you know what, hopefully I just get to stay here and be done with this process and start to get to work pretty soon,” he said.
The 26-year-old tried to keep his faith and thinks all the transactions will somehow be worth it.
“I think at the end of the day, God’s plan is perfect, and everything happens for a reason, and I’m here now, and good things are going to come out of this,” Díaz said.
His wife, Silenia, kept encouraging Diaz that it would work out.
“She’s the one that kept me rooted throughout this entire process, and she would calm me and tell me, ‘things happen for a reason, and you’ve got to stay strong and get through it. You know your time will come, just stay patient through it.’ I was like, “I’m tired [of] this process,’ and she was like, ‘you’ve got to get through it. It will be over very soon.’”
Now, Díaz is in camp, trying to convince the Orioles that he can help the team as a backup first baseman to Ryan Mountcastle.
“So far, since I’ve been here I really like the camaraderie, me and the new guys, the teammates,” he said. “I also think the coaches have been really helpful so far with communication. I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far and I think if I just do good things and go about my work in a good way, good things are going to come out of it.”
Díaz said Silenia never wavered in her support.
“The first couple of times, people would reach out for you and say, ‘hey, we’re super excited for you for this new opportunity, being part of a new team,’ but after a few more times of that, they stopped reaching out and they were like, ‘maybe we’ll feel bad for him, and we’ll stop reaching out.’ After that point it was me and my wife, talking about it and dealing with it.”
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