According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs are one of several teams interested in signing free agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz. Diaz is one of two top Cuban prospects to recently be granted free agency by Major League Baseball and due to his age and service time in Cuba, Diaz is not subject to the new international signing guidelines.
Aledmys Diaz turns 23 on Tuesday and is expected to garner a lot of attention, along with outfielder Dariel Alvarez. The mainstream media had not connected either of the free agents to the Cubs prior to Monday but this news is not unexpected due to the new spending limits on the draft and on the international market.
Aledmys Diaz and Dariel Alvarez had workouts scheduled for January 5 but according to Jesse Sanchez those workouts were pushed back to the end of January. At least 10 teams have expressed strong interest in Diaz according to Sanchez and the Sun-Times reported the Cubs as being one of those teams.
Diaz is a natural shortstop and is felt to be closer to big league ready than Alvarez. Diaz reportedly can hit for power and average from the right-side of the plate. Diaz is considered to be an average runner with an above average arm. Alvarez can play all three outfield positions and has impressed scouts with his above-average arm.
Alvarez is 24 years old while Diaz turns 23 on Tuesday and both players are not subject to the international spending cap due to their age and service time. Under the new CBA, Cuban players who are at least 23 years old and have played at least three seasons in the Cuban professional league are not subject to the spending restrictions.
According to Jesse Sanchez, additional teams became interested in Diaz once they realized he would not fall under the new international guidelines and could be signed as a free agent. It is unclear as to how long the Cubs have been in the mix. Sanchez sees Detroit as a match for Diaz, who could use some time in the minor leagues.
Jesse Sanchez reported in November that was too early to tell at the time if Aledmys Diaz or Dariel Alvarez would command contracts similar to the ones signed by Yoenis Cespedes (four years, $36 million with the A’s), Yasiel Puig (seven years, $42 million with the Dodgers) or Jorge Soler (nine years, $30 million with the Cubs).
Stay Tuned …