According to a report from Baseball America, Major League Baseball is investigating the age of Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz. Diaz reportedly turned 23 on January 8, which would make him eligible for free agency. Cuban players with at least three years of professional experience in Cuba and are at least 23 years old are not subject to the new international signing restrictions … and Diaz meets both of those requirements if he was born on January 8, 1990.
The Cubs are one of several teams reportedly interested in signing the shortstop. Aledmys Diaz and fellow Cuban defector, outfielder Dariel Alvarez, have a workout scheduled with big league teams at the end of January. Speculation has been that Diaz, who is closer to Major League ready than Alvarez, could sign a big contract.
Baseball America has uncovered multiple birth dates for Aledmys Diaz. According to one report, a story in December of 2007 from the official website of Cuba’s top team listed Diaz as being born on August 1, 1990 and when news of his defection surfaced last July, the reports indicated he was 21 at the time, which as Baseball America reported, would mean the August 1, 1990 date of birth was accurate.
Baseball America also found two other rosters with different dates of birth for Diaz. One of the rosters was from the 2010 Pan-American games that states Diaz was born in 1991, but a specific day and month was not listed. And other one used by the Cuban team at the Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands in July lists Diaz’s birth date as August 1, 1991.
Diaz’s agent, Jamie Torres, said he can only go by the documentation given to him by the player and acknowledged a player’s age and date of birth can be misreported in Cuba. According to Baseball America, the confusion could exist due to the ways dates are presented in the United States (month/day/year) compared to some Latin countries (day/month/year) … hence the 1/8/90, 8/1/90 confusion.
Jamie Torres also represents Dariel Alvarez and he told Baseball America that Major League Baseball is requiring Diaz to present an unblocking license from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before he can agree to sign with a Major League team. Torres indicated that not having the OFAC license is the reason Diaz’s workout has been pushed back.
As Baseball America pointed out, players in the past falsified their paperwork in an attempt to be younger than they actually were but now there is an advantage to being a year or two older.
If Diaz is found to be guilty of providing a false age, he could be subject to a penalty of being unable to sign for one year.