The market for Cuban prospect Aledmys Diaz should begin to unfold this week in the wake of the shortstop’s 23rd birthday on Tuesday. He was officially declared a free agent last month after establishing residency (in Mexico) during the previous month.
Now, under Major League Baseball’s latest collective bargaining agreement, the team that signs Diaz will not be subject to international signing restrictions. Similarly, he is free to command a higher contract.
At 6’1”, 185 pounds, Diaz, who will participate in a showcase for major league scouts later this month, has a projectable frame with the potential to add strength as he continues to develop. He’s regarded as a quality defender with solid range and a strong arm—attributes that could also also make him serviceable as a third baseman. The utility of his hit tool has mixed reviews, but he does have power potential.
The 23-year-old isn’t the next Yoenis Cespedes, though he had played in Cuba’s premier league, Serie Nacional, since 2007 before defecting last summer. Therefore, Diaz will likely require at least a half-season, possibly even more, at Triple-A before debuting in the major leagues.
Although there are at least 10 teams reported to be interested in Diaz, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, he’s not a logical fit with that many organizations. And it’s no coincidence that each of these five teams has deep, deep pockets.