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?
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.