The St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday announced that they have singed Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz to a four-year major league contract.
Several teams were reported to be in on Diaz, a shortstop who can also play second and third base, although the New York Yankees shook up the market a little bit when they declared Diaz to project to be a utility player and bowed out of the bidding.
The Redbirds have been watching Diaz for more than a year, according to the club. And, especially when you factor in what a good job the St. Louis organization has done over the last few years judging talent, I am excited that this is a good pick up.
Diaz hasn't played a game in a year and a half because of his defection and the process of becoming MLB eligible. So it might be a while before he gets up to speed and Cardinals fans see his true potential.
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But the Birds had some money to spend because of a relatively low payroll thanks to all the youngsters who are taking up big league roster spots. So why not roll the dice on acquiring talent when all you have to give up is some stockpiled cash?
Besides, the Cardinals have been trying to increase their international presence, and this is a great way to jump into that talent pool with both feet.
Even if Diaz takes a whole year to get back into game shape, he could be a good buy for the Cardinals. Diaz could, at the very least, become the right-handed component of a second base platoon. But I haven't given up on him at shortstop just yet. He made a lot of errors in Cuba. But what sort of field was he playing on? I wonder if the combination of better surfaces and a little bit of time with Jose Oquendo to polish his fundamentals could make a world of difference.
From the little bit of video available of Diaz's play, he sure seems to have the arm to play shortstop.
They way I see it, there is little to lose in this deal -- yet everything to gain.