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cubaThe next “name” Cuban defector may sign as soon the next couple of days. According to multiple reports, infielder Aledmys Diaz could be signing soon. In fact, the St. Louis Cardinals will make Diaz, 23, an offer within the next 24 hours, according to Joe Strauss. Other teams are believed to be interested as well, but their identities are unclear at this time.

Diaz recently worked out for interested teams at San Diego’s facility, and at least one report indicated there were more than a dozen teams in attendance. That report, from the San Diego Union-Tribune also suggested that Diaz could land a deal in the $20 to $30 million range. Diaz is a shortstop by trade, but he likely play elsewhere in the infield.

Diaz is not a new name around these parts – you may remember him as the Cuban defector who got dinged by MLB for allegedly falsifying his age … in the older direction. Diaz allegedly tried to say he was 23 last year, instead of this year, so that he could sign last year without being subject to any international spending restrictions.

Around that time, the Cubs were frequently rumored as suitors. Now I’m not so sure of the fit, what with the emergence of Arismendy Alcantara, the explosion of Javier Baez, the drafting of Kris Bryant, and the acquisition of Mike Olt. Although I suppose you could ask the same “fit” questions with respect to the Cardinals, given an infield that’s pretty set for the next few years if all of Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta, and Kolten Wong stay healthy. (Maybe Peralta ends up moving eventually? But he’s really only worth his contract at shortstop … )

To be sure, the idea of picking up any 23-year-old talent for just money is an attractive idea for a team in asset-gathering mode. Diaz would be, for the Cubs, another nice asset to add to the stable. But when it comes to limited resources, the Cubs might be best served rolling over some of their dollars into possible pitchers later in the year (both traditional free agents, and possible internationally available talents like Kenta Maeda, or the next hot Cuban defector). I suppose it depends on how impressed they have been by Diaz, and what the plans are for the infield, long-term.

With respect to the current crop of Cuban defectors, there are several whom I see as good – maybe better – fits for the Cubs right now, including pitchers Raicel Iglesias and Odrisamer Despaigne, outfielder/infielder Rusney Castillo, and catcher Yenier Bello.

We’ll see what happens with Diaz, but I’d be surprised if the Cubs were still involved at this point.

  • Kyle

    Want. He’s there, he may be MLB ready, he’s unicorn-age, and we’re sitting on a pile of unused payroll space.

    Right now, we have two MLB-quality infielders ready to play in the majors. I’ll worry about what to happen when we have five when we actually get there, and the answer will be “trade one for something else we need.”

    Cotillo said he’d start taking offers last night and would decide by Friday or Saturday.

    • Mike

      “Right now, we have two MLB-quality infielders ready to play in the majors.”

      Donnie Murphy and Darwin Barney? :)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “he’s unicorn-age”

      What, is he chasing virgins?

    • SenorGato

      Completely agreed, especially on the part about any IF glut here is imagined right now.

    • JCubs79

      Agree. We should be going after him.

    • Patrick W.

      I agree.

    • D-Rock

      I agree as well. Doesn’t cost a draft pick, so why not? Better to have more depth.

  • Rich H

    I am all in here if I am the Cubs. You have to think the biggest pursuer will be the Mets though. St Louis will take a shot maybe but will not go huge money.

    I think that letting this one go on by will hurt for a while if he pans out. If he doesn’t then we are just wasting money. Where if we move Baez or Bryant up too soon we are costing us A LOT of development time. Besides you cant spell CUBA with out CUB :D

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    anywhere but the cardinals please. I have that terrible feeling that if he signs with the cards he’ll become a perennial all-star….cubby curse

  • scorecardpaul

    They have hinted that they were saving money for one pitcher that signed with the Yankees. It’s only money, lets spend it. I agree with Kyle don’t count your chickens before they hatch. If we are absolutely stuffed with infielders in 2 years then this could be another body to trade for pitching. He will only cost us money, and we can’t spend it on young international talent this year anyhow. In a sense this allows us to keep our better prospects when we start talking about players to trade for pitching. We need to find some pitching any way we can.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Diaz to the Cardinals surely means Prelta is headed to the outfield soon enough. So where would he fit given Holliday, Taverez and Bourjos in the longer term mix? And that assumes Craig goes to 1st base permanently. And then what do they do with Adams?

    Interesting to say the least.

  • Bill

    ” But when it comes to limited resources, the Cubs might be best served rolling over some of their dollars into possible pitchers later in the year (both traditional free agents, and possible internationally available talents like Kenta Maeda, or the next hot Cuban defector).”

    Huh? Is this rollover like the Al Gore “lock box”? Theo/Jed aren’t holding money not spent this year (ie Tanaka money) and keeping it in a safe that will be used for next season. Anyone who thinks this is incredibly naive. As Kyle said the other day, it’s more likely they’ll use this money to offset the loss in revenue from declining attendance.

    If the Cubs have the money for Diaz (and they do), and the scouts like him then Theo/Jed should be trying to acquire Diaz. The Cubs have huge holes at 2nd and 3rd base. Sure, Baez and others might fill them but I’d rather acquire as much talent as I can then deal with where to play them later. You can always trade one of these guys in a package deal to get back a TOR starting pitcher which the Cubs don’t have right now.

  • hansman

    Please sweet Jesus, sign him.

    If we are talking 6/$30, even if he becomes an all-glove util guy, there are worse ways to spend the money.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Worse ways, yes. But if the Cubs don’t believe he’s got legit upside beyond that, I can think of lots and lots of better ways to spend that money, especially right now when it’s apparently so damn limited.

      • Bill

        If he doesn’t have legit upside, then it would be stupid for the Cubs to spend the money for him, even if they were swimming in cash.

      • hansman

        It’s getting to the point where the Cubs have to start risking more money on some of these guys. I understand funds are limited but if we keep fucking around on these kids we are going to have a pile of money and only 30 year olds to spend it on (which, many times, is just as wasteful as a prospect).

        • YourResidentJag

          So, does that apply if and when a pitcher like Maeda posts.

          • http://BleacherNation blewett

            How good is Maeda supposed to be? And how old is he?

            • YourResidentJag

              He’s a middle to back end guy. He’s 26 this yr. The real guy to watch is Shohei Ohtani.

              http://www.npbtracker.com/2014/02/whos-next/#content

              • YourResidentJag
              • SenorGato

                Ahem:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqFgPumHKBA#t=192

                That’s not happening until 2018/2019.

                Badler on Fujinami:

                “I wouldn’t be surprised if Fujinami ended up getting to the level of someone like Darvish or Tanaka. Otani got more public attention when he was in high school because he toyed with the idea of signing with an MLB team after graduation, but Fujinami was arguably the better prospect. What he did last year for Hanshin as a 19-year-old only elevated his status. I’m a big Fujinami fan.”

                • SenorGato

                  I’m hoping something happens that allows Fujinami to be posted or come to the MLB a little sooner. Not sure what it would be.

                • YourResidentJag

                  Really? So, you work for NPB? Because that would allow you to make that statement. Face it…you have no better idea that I do about either and when they’ll post. I’m sure that Fujinami will be solid, but Ohtani is no slouch. Patrick Newman who does NPB tracker still thinks very highly of Ohtani. And those videos show why. Either way if the Cubs could get either if would be big, right?

                  • YourResidentJag

                    *it

                  • Brocktoon

                    There’s no reason for either of them to be posted so early with the new 20m limit

    • Kyle

      His bat’s more his calling card than his glove. Some power, good plate discipline.

      • Bill

        *drool*

      • hansman

        Figured, since he can play SS he should be able to handle, at least in a util role, all the IF spots if his bat doesn’t pan out.

  • NorthSideIrish

    BA Top 100 prospects show kicking off now on MLB Network…already had Baez in the opening credits.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Soler at #41 on BA’s list…Mark Appel #39…

    • NorthSideIrish

      Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler 7m
      Jorge Soler should be a Top 25 prospect next year as long as he’s healthy. Bat speed, 70 power, good approach. Could be a monster. #BA100

  • NorthSideIrish

    Almora at #36…really low for him…

  • NorthSideIrish

    CJ Edwards at #28…higher than most rankings…

    • NorthSideIrish

      JJ Cooper ‏@jjcoop36 5m
      We’re big C.J. Edwards believers here at BA. So are a whole lot of people working in the game. #BA100

      For two months of Matt Garza…

    • Kyle

      *drool*

  • rkook

    Edwards ahead of Aaron Sanchez. That’s a good sign.

    • YourResidentJag

      Except that Stroman is #27 in the Baseball Prospectus rankings while Edwards is at #81. So, who knows.

      • Brocktoon

        Which is funny when you consider it wasn’t too long ago that bpro would be heavily skewed towards the guy with the stats, which would obviously favor cj

  • NorthSideIrish

    Bryant and Baez both in Top 10…

  • rkook

    I always worry about Jon Gray being a stud. Bryant needs to be a run producer quickly.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Bryant at #8…

  • NorthSideIrish

    And Baez at #5…he’s gonna be pissed. Ugh…right behind Tanaka.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Ben Badler ‏@BenBadler 23s
    The scariest thing about Javier Baez isn’t his freakish bat speed or power. It’s how much he improved all around last year. #BA100

    Doesn’t make up for the fact they referenced errors on the show.

    • Kyle

      This.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Pierce Johnson at #87 and Alcantra at #100…

  • NorthSideIrish

    Oscar Taveras at #3 and John Manuel drops a Barry Bonds comp on him. No pressure.

    • bbmoney

      That’s boarder line heretical.

  • David

    I’m foolin around with http://baseballplayersalaries.com

    Below are details of Albert Pujols contract for the last three years of his contract… Ha ha.

    2019 $28,000,000
    2020 $29,000,000
    2021 $30,000,000

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    ESPN chicago’s Jesse Rogers has a sort of awkward and uncomfortable interview with Theo Epstein. Didn’t seem like Theo wanted to talk him one bit. He definitely holds his cards (as he should) in this 9 minute interview

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/chicago/play?id=10476439

    • Brocktoon

      Isn’t this the one where Theo admitted they had planned on dual fronts?

  • David

    Chris Sale’s contract, below. I hate the stinky Sox – but that’s a team friendly contract… if his arm doesn’t fall off. I wonder what the Sox would want for him?? Castro/ Volgleburger/ Soler?

    2014 $3,500,000
    2015 $6,000,000
    2016 $9,150,000
    2017 $12,000,000
    2018 Free Agent*
    2019 Free Agent*

    * Team Option: $13,500,000

    • Edwin

      I’d guess they’d start with Baez, and then at least one more of Almora, Bryant, or Soler. And then probably another Cubs prospect in the 5-10 range.

      Sale is young, he’s one of the best young pitchers in the game, and he’s being paid cents on the dollar for what he’s worth. He’s exactly the type of player a FO would love to build around. The only way the Sox move him is if they get offered a massive overpay.

  • http://BleacherNation blewett

    Why do you guys keep referring to Vogelbach as Vogleburger? Is that some kind of inside joke or do you really not know his name? Just asking.

    • hansman

      David and your posts are the first I have ever heard about him being called Vogelburger (the part of that word that is his name is even misspelled).

      • http://BleacherNation blewett

        I’ve seen it at least twice tonight. That’s why I thought maybe it was some kind of inside joke. Maybe both posts were by the same guy!

  • YourResidentJag

    Ben Finfer is leaving the Score and going to the Game 87.7. I wonder who will host the baseball show with Bruce Levine.

    • CubFan Paul

      No one listens to it apparently, so who cares?

  • Ed

    Brett, any chance of bleachernation coming out with an app.?

  • Noah_I

    Quite honestly, this pickup makes too much sense for the Yankees to not be involved. I could see the hiccup with the Cardinals being that he has no guaranteed spot in the infield. Peralta is signed for four years, and if Wong works out, I’m not sure where the Cardinals play Diaz.

    The Yankees, however, could offer him the starting shortstop position on opening day 2015.

    I think the ability to plug Diaz in on opening day, though, is a bit of hopeful thinking. As with all Cuban players, this is someone who hasn’t played competitive ball in some time. He’s likely going to need SOME time in the minors, since he won’t even be signing until midway through spring training, which counters the biggest thing the Cubs could offer him (you can play on opening day for us).

    I’d love to have him, but he makes a lot more sense for the Yankees, so I think they’ll outspend the field.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Pretty sound point. And if the Yankees aren’t involved, it makes you wonder.

      • Jim

        Isnt that kinda always the case with every player like this?

      • Noah_I

        Thanks. And the Cubs doubly have the problem if they send him to Iowa on Opening Day: he won’t be able to play the same position every day. He might get time at shortstop on Baez’s days off, but he’d have to split time at 2B with Alcantara and 3B with Villanueva and potentially Olt.

        If the Cubs are comfortable just throwing him out there on opening day, that’s one thing. If they aren’t, he’s a great additional prospect to add, but that’s it.

    • aaronb

      Good points Noah,

      Though I do wonder if he might be able to beat out Darwin Barney right now? If playing time is his main objective. We seem like a logical fit.

      • Noah_I

        That’s definitely possible, but “you’ll get this spot if you beat out someone” is different than a guaranteed spot. The problem Diaz would have with the Cubs is that, if he doesn’t beat out Barney or Valbuena/Murphy on day one, he’s never guaranteed a starting spot with the Cubs.

        The Yankees can tell him he’s going to Triple A just to see some live game action for awhile, and, once he’s adjusted, he’s either coming up to replace Kelly Johnson, will be the first one called up if/when Jeter gets injured, or will be the opening day starter on 2015.

      • Noah_I

        Just to note, this doesn’t mean I don’t think the Cubs shouldn’t go after him. They definitely should. I’m just saying that I’m not sure the Cubs can really legitimately offer him opening day 2014 spot, and if they can’t offer him that, I could see the Yankees should blowing everyone out of the water on the contract to secure their shortstop of the future. This is also a low enough price that a whole host of teams could be involved, a la the A’s on Cespedes.

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