The long wait is over. Aledmys Diaz has signed with the Cardinals. A four year, eight million dollar deal first reported Sunday afternoon will put the Cuban defector in Cardinal red for the foreseeable future. The excitement surrounding Diaz cooled after scouting reports emerged projecting him as a utility man at the major league level rather than a franchise shortstop. For more in depth scouting on Diaz I recommend taking a look at the work @stlcupofjoe did over at Viva El Birdos.
The big question now is where Diaz fits within an organization that all of the sudden has a log jam up the middle. Obviously Jhonny Peralta is going to anchor shortstop for at least a couple years before a possible move to third.
Matt Carpenter just received a six year extension to play third. Kolten Wong should have second base anchored, and Mark Ellis the insurance policy. Take into account Daniel Descalso, Pete Kozma, Greg Garcia, etc. and the infield gets awfully crowded.
I’m more optimistic on Diaz future than most. Despite the recent reports mentioned above, there simply has to be a reason that he was once perceived as a big name free agent. Not to mention that I would trust the Cardinals scouting department with my life. Diaz will likely start the 2014 season in AA Springfield or AAA Memphis; however I see him in St. Louis by the trade deadline.
At least in the near future, I see the Cuban defector fitting the utility projection. After 2014, it’s anybody’s guess where Diaz fits on this team. Cardinal fans would love for him to fit his original billing as a franchise shortstop, only time will tell if that’s a realistic expectation. For a two million dollar annual value, it’s a low risk, high reward type move, the kind that makes organizations like the Cardinals click. You can never have too much depth, especially at shortstop.
It’s not crazy, it’s sports