Cubs in on Cuban SS Aledmis Diaz

Cubs in on Cuban SS Aledmis Diaz

I got an email from a source a few hours ago on this.  Of course, I was too busy trying to sleep off the flu and I missed it.  I come to and find that it's already hit Twitter.  Thanks flu!

According to Gordon Wittenmeyer, the Cubs are one of several (other say up to 10) teams interested in Cuban SS Aledmis Diaz.

Source: Cubs one of several teams interested in Cuban defector/SS Aledmis Diaz. Turns 23 Tuesday, exempting him from signing $$$ limits.

Diaz is the better of the two newest Cubs free agents (the other is OF Dariel Alvarez).  Despite just turning 23, Diaz is considered the more advanced as well. I originally wrote about the two prospects back in November.

At the time, I wrote this,

Diaz is considered the better prospect of the two but won't turn 23 until January 8th.  Several teams have reported interest already but he will wait until his birthday so that he too, will not be bound by the CBA.

Diaz is a 6'1", 185 lbs. SS defected during a tournament in the Netherlands last summer.  He hits with some power and the ability to hit for average.  He hit .315 with a .404 OBP and 12 HRs in his last season for Villa Clara.  He is considered a good fielder with an above average arm.  He's an average runner.

So why pursue yet another SS when the Cubs already have Starlin Castro at the MLB level, top prospect Javier Baez, and BA #10 prospect Arismendy Alcantara?

Why not?

Shortstop is a premium position and among the most difficult to fill in baseball.  The Cubs are still all about accumulating talent, especially when that talent is young and doesn't cost them anything except money.  I don't think anybody is going to criticize the Cubs for having too many shortstops.

Diaz could be another asset for the Cubs in their organization, or perhaps even help fill the void at 3B if the Cubs think he's ready now.  He does have some pop and some good on-base skills so there's a chance he could have enough bat there.  His defense and arm certainly seem to be plenty for the position.   The same source told me that there is some talk that a position change may be ahead for Diaz.

He's not the high ceiling prospect that Jorge Soler is, but he's more advanced and nearly MLB ready.  With the Cubs establishing a stronger and stronger presence in Cuba, you have to think that if they like what they see, the Cubs should be among the favorites to sign Diaz.

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  • Can he play 3b?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't know but I can't see why not. If he's a good SS with an above average arm, he should handle 3B. The question will be whether he has enough bat for it. He's also not especially quick and some aren't sure he's a MLB SS anyway, so maybe 3B is the best fit.

  • Sounds like a possible 2b with a little power?

  • In reply to cubster:

    Possibly. Not going to start over Barney though. I think 3B is more likely in the short term.

  • Speaking of 3B, does anyone familiar with Cuban baseball know if their star thirdbaseman will ever play baseball in US MLB. If I recall, he is under 30 and one of the best international players. I guess he would start immediately in the big leagues. It would be great way for the Cubs to get a proven 3B without needing to trade any prospects

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    I'm not sure who mean. I remember Yuliesky Gourriel was supposed to defect about 6 years ago but it never happened. He was considered their best player and compared to Chipper Jones and Ernie Banks. He was 21 at the time, so he'd still be young. Haven't heard anything on him though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Its Cuba , John. Uncle Fidel never looked too favorably on defections.

  • John do you think he would be ticketed for Triple A if the Cubs inked him?

  • In reply to Bilbo Baggins:

    That's a good question. I guess that's something they'll figure out once they see him play. If they sign him, they'll probably give him a long look in the spring. Great fit if he can play 3B (bats RH) and spell Castro at SS from time to time. If I had to guess I'd say AAA, but we'll see.

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    How does he compare to Alexei Ramirez? Alexei was 26 when he was signed out of Cubs.....and the White Sox signed him VERY cheap.

    He worked out, obviously

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Ramirez is a better athlete. He was a big question mark because of his age and no set position -- and not everyone liked him, but he adapted quickly. Diaz is not the SS that Ramirez is either. I'd be happy if he can hit something similar to Ramirez and do it at 3B. Ramirez averaged .276.316/409 with 15 HRs/yr, I'd be happy with that.

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    Their interest is right in line with the current regime's strategy of adding talent to the system in every way possible (especially when it doesn't cost anything other than money). I don't think there is really any such thing as having too many quality prospects in the minors at any position. Worst case scenario, someone has to change positions or you trade a prospect from a position of strength.

  • In reply to Tom Wozniak:

    Yep! And its especially easy to change positions if you can play SS, which usually means you have the tools and athleticism to play just about anywhere else defensively.

  • In reply to Tom Wozniak:

    Or you trade the MLB player from a positiion of strength.

  • "So why pursue yet another SS...?"

    Because Didi Gregorious, that's why.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Exactly :) They have so much value whether you use them or move them -- and they don't have to be stars.

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    Big question: are the Dodgers in on this? Because that, right there, could be the end of this little dream.

    "We saw him take batting practice. Is $50 million over 3 years enough? Because we can go higher."

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh man...I don't want to even think about those guys.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Red Sox
    White Sox

    They all have it in for Theo and the Cubs.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Looks like a reasonable list.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    U could use that list for anyone available. Where would u put the Cubs based on the Theo era.

  • Theo/Jedi are at least giving the Cubs a direction. Just look at the recent draft choices as an example. Almora is already showing signs of being better than almost anything Hendry drafted, save for Baez/Vogelbach, who both came at the end of the Hendry era. BA right now ranks the Cubs 20th-Im betting that number wll improve at least 50% before the summer is done, and no one has seen what Maples, Underwood or Pierce Johnson can do yet.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    But (he said butt), I do agree it a reasonable list. Considering only one of the teams is in the NL, that would have some far reaching implications throughout MLB if the Cubs signed this kid. Especially if the Dogders tank this year (I hope I hope) - namely, Theo is for real, and there are only a handful of teams that can compete with there balanced attack in the NL (may be nice post - considering the implications now that the Cubs have a pipeline they R stuffing and the $). Considering the new CBA, what the Cubs System has done in a short amount of time and the $ they have to spend wisely? That is scary, not only for the NL, but also the AL. And most importantly for this 51 year old Cubs fan (who has been spoiled and has learned to appreciate the whole system a lot more from U guys) to not only look forward to next year but the next 10! Excuse me while I kiss the sky...

  • I also meant to say they R deep at SS and they R willing to spend $ on another one.

  • Who is a better short-stop at this point of their career, Diaz or Hak-Ju Lee?

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    I'd say Diaz, but that's only from reading about him. Lee is a slap hitter. He's Kaz Matsui at SS. Lee has a big frame and could eventually add power but hasn't shown any sign of that yet. His 2012 numbers at AA: .261/.336/.360. He does have speed and good defense, but his overall package makes him a good prospect, not necessarily any one skill he excels at. Probably a little like Almora in that way. But I still have no problem having given up Lee in the Garza deal. A number 2 starter is much harder to come by than a good fielding slap hitting SS who might become a better hitter but will never be as good as Castro right now. lol.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I think you have to go Lee, but partly because Diaz is an unknown. They have played at roughly the same level, Lee is younger and he has a low floor because he's a good defender. At the very least he's a fast, defensive oriented player.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I disagree. You want to make a long term friendly wager (prob 2 years) that Diaz will have be a better player/have a better career then Lee?

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I watched a lot of Cuban beisball and heard a lot about these guys living in South Florida for so long and knowing many Cubans. I was telling everyone who would listen that Cespedes was a long term piece as long as you believe his age was his real age. Although I didn't think he would come in from the jump dominate and win ROY ( assuming we were living in a Trout-less world, what a bad world that would be for us baseball fans)

  • fb_avatar

    I get that we would want to acquire talent...but I just have to believe someone else is going to outbid us. Someone who has $ and actually needs a SS, this year or next year.

    There are alot of big-money teams that would likely spend more than us

  • Does blocking other teams to create a stronger SS market in the future come in to play? Especially with how close this guy is? Good job as always, one request though..... More articles!!!!! Too much free time not enough Cubs Den! Jk you guys do a great job, just being greedy

  • Im greedy too! I do winner how they put out as many as they do. Its like three a day. Pretty solid. I always wonder where they constantly come up with ideas for new articles. Impressive. I just found this website last month, & am so happy i did!
    Most sites are full of idiot trolls with asinine trade ideas & arguing about stupid crap. I live Cubs Den! Thank you for all of your hard work!

  • Is the outfielder of an interest to the cubs? Seems like a better fit, he's 24 right? Any power, speed?

    Aren't you getting tired of having that flue? Better get well soon it will be pitchers and catchers report before we know it..

  • One thing that bothers me about the Rule 5 draft is with the Cubs acquiring all this young talent too be developed,what happens when all this talent has to be put on the 40 man roster at the same time or risk exposing them to other teams. There's always trades to be made but why if you can't get back in return fair value? That's something as a lifelong Cub fan I've never seen before.Actually somewhere amongst the Cub brass they probably would love that situation and put themselves in a position of dealing from strength

  • If were lucky, maybe Diaz might bethis years Cespedes, who had a huge 2nd half last year, helping carry the As to the division title. What kid of $ you think es looking for?

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    You've got to figure that the chance to compete for a starting job this year would be attractive to Diaz.

    On an editing note, I assume you mean two newest "Cuban" free agents, not Cubs free agents. Unless you were trying some subliminal mind magic to get them both to sign with the Cubs :)

  • Has there been any more on this story? Has he narrowed it down from ten to five or three?

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