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Cardinals sign Cuban middle infielder Aledmys Diaz to a four-year major league contract

Mar 9, 2014, 1:49 PM EDT

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As first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Cardinals have agreed to a major league contract with Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that it’s a four-year deal.

Diaz will arrive at Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida on Monday morning. No word on the financial terms.

The Cardinals already have their Opening Day infield set with Matt Adams at first base, Matt Carpenter at third base, Jhonny Peralta at shortstop, and a platoon of Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis at second base. So Diaz is more of a luxury than a necessity and may open the 2014 season in the minor leagues to get properly acclimated to professional baseball.

Diaz, 23, batted .315/.404/.500 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases across 313 plate appearances during his final year in Cuba. He established residency in Mexico after defecting in the summer of 2012.

The Yankees, Blue Jays, Mariners, Padres, and Giants all expressed interest in him this winter.


UPDATE, 5:21 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says the four-year deal is worth less than $20 million.

UPDATE, Monday, 12:18 p.m. ET: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the figure: $8 million.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Mar 9, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    “Diaz, 23, batted .315/.404/.500 with 12 home runs”

    The Cards do it again. They sign premier talent. Very impressive.

  2. dogfromduckhunt - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Plain and simple the Cardinals are the best run organization in Baseball.

    • therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      This Red Sox fan strongly agrees.

      • scatterbrian - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        Yeah, poor Red Sox fans.

      • therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        Not complaining tatteredbrains as Sox clearly have a top 5 or at worst top 10 system, just giving the Cards credit where credit is due.

    • paperlions - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      I feel comfortable saying they are one of the best run organizations. There are a lot of really well run organizations; I’m not sure how you determine which is best at any particular time given the variation in constraints associated with each organization.

    • dogfromduckhunt - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      2011 World Series champs
      2012 1 game from World Series
      2013 Lost in World Series
      2014 NL Favorite

      They turn out their own talent year after year and still have a deep farm system. Payroll that ranks 14th in Baseball. Literally half the payroll as the Dodgers and Yankees. If they and their fans want to be snobby, let them be, clearly whatever the “Cardinal Way” is, is working. Maybe other teams should try and figure it out?

      It’s not hard to see why I think they are the best run organization.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      Not sure that being well run has much to do with signing this player. But OK, whatever you want to believe.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        Based upon your post below (with the Klingon reference)…I take rehab is not going so well?
        I kid…I kid. Your post did make me laugh.

    • mmeyer3387 - Mar 9, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      There are a couple of mlb organisations that are run very well. Clearly, these to teams are very high on any ones list that is honest. That being said, the best run team needs to have certain traits and accomplishments over the last 10 to 12 years. First, a great win and lost record. Second, draft and develop their own talent, along with an above average and consistent farm system. If the team just gets talent through free agency they are just buying talent, which weakens the farm over time. They must also be good at finding talent from other countries and find talent that other teams dis-guard. Furthermore, they must have won at least one World Series title. Also the best run team needs to be one that gets the most results from their gm, manager, coaches and scouts by wining without always spending the most on its pay roll.When all of these factors are taken into account, it leaves one team, the Cardinals are the best run organization in Baseball.

  3. kcroyal - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    He must play the game the right way.

    • cardslifer - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      Butt hurt Missouri can’t split good baseball more equally?

      • kcroyal - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        Butt hurt about ’85 still?

      • recoveringcubsfan - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

        So, uh…your Best Fans In Baseball is showing.

      • ltzep75 - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        I’m tired of all this use of “butthurt.”

        The next SOB who used that stupid phrase shall be forced to become a Marlins fan and watch each and every game. No DVR use to speed through commercials either. You hear me?

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      “Butt hurt about ’85 still?”
      I realize this wasn’t directed at me…but yes…yes I am. Lol!

  4. tfbuckfutter - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    So what does that mean the overall plan is with Peralta over the next 4 years? Position shift, or are they hoping Diaz can shift to 2nd?

    • okwhitefalcon - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      Peralta won’t be playing SS in the 3rd/4th year of the deal, hell – he might not be playing there in year 2 if Diaz progresses.

      Diaz adds flexibility and insurance – maybe Wong washes out, Peralta proves to a defensive liability at SS..etc.

      There’s a ton of scenarios that could play out and the Cards have themselves covered in about any “what if” situation.

      • tfbuckfutter - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        My question though is where does Peralta move?

      • okwhitefalcon - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        3B, LF – maybe some RF or 1B if necessary.

        It’s all about flexibility and having options when/if someone needs a day off or misses time due to injury.

        Who knows if Peralta will even be a Card through his entire contract?

        It’s front loaded with a limited no trade and would be easy to move on down the road.

    • paperlions - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Nothing, really. Diaz isn’t likely to have the range to play SS. I mean, the Cardinals have been stubborn enough to play Descalso there when it is clear he can’t do it…so that won’t keep them from playing Diaz there. But I haven’t seen a single scouting report suggest that Diaz is likely to be even an average defensive player at SS.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Look…you can rag on D.D. all you want. But we all know he is your all time favorite Cardinal.

      • paperlions - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Shhhhhh….don’t tell anyone.

      • paperlions - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        I don’t blame Descalso for not being able to play SS, he never was a SS. He played 3B throughout his MiLB career and was asked to do his best at SS and 2B due to organizational need. I have no problem at all with his efforts to do what is needed to help the team win and love his willingness to do whatever is asked of him. It isn’t his fault he can’t play SS…it is the organizations fault for putting themselves in a situation where he and Kozma were the best options.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        I agree with you 100% Paper. I mean that.
        I just like to give you a hard time whenever I see you post anything remotely negative about D.D.
        But yeah…dude certainly isn’t a the best option at SS or 2nd. And if he is…we are in serious trouble. LoL!

      • paperlions - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        Yeah, well… is fair criticism of me all the same. It is too easy to blame the player for their short comings rather than the organization for asking the player to do things they know he won’t excel at.

    • gibbyfan - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Maybe if the kid works out they can unload Peralta early.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        If they’re half as great as some commenters on this thread seem to believe, not only will the Cards offload Peralta AND get the sucker – I mean, “trading partner” – to give them all his salary back, plus 11 1st round picks, a bag of gold sovereigns, etc., but Diaz will break Ripken’s streak, do a double backflip before every game to make Cards fans say “Ozzie who?” AND he’ll sing the national anthem in English, Spanish, and Klingon! And his tears cure baby whale cancer. Jeter’s do, too, and David Eckstein’s used to, but Diaz has extra-wide tear ducts (something the Cards actually know how to scout, naturally), so cancer among whale calves will be eliminated in the next 4 years!

      • spudchukar - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        One would think Cubs’ fans would be good losers. They get so much practice. But “recovering” is obviously a work in progress.

  5. okwhitefalcon - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    I have no idea if this will work out but I am excited about the signing, it’s the first dive in the deep end of the Cuban talent pool for the Cards and it obviously has inherent risk.

    If he is the real deal, (or even reasonably close to the real deal) it provides middle infield depth and the possibility for a long term fixture at SS at if he plays up to expectation.

    • paperlions - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      I feel the same. I don’t know if the kid will work out or not…but the organization has more talent in it today than it did yesterday, which is a plus. I’m optimistic and look forward to following him (assuming he starts in AA or AAA this year and doesn’t make the majors until at least September).

      • spudchukar - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        Yeah, the Cards just don’t have anybody in the pipeline that projects well at the middle infield positions. Perhaps it is true SS will prove to be a challenge, but neither Ellis, nor Descalso are short stops period.

        My guess is Diaz starts at SS in AAA, gets work at 2B too, and becomes a utility guy, who has some pop off the bench. What concerns me is how much faith the management still has in Wong. Maybe it is just protection but it makes one wonder.

      • paperlions - Mar 9, 2014 at 8:04 PM

        I really don’t think this means anything for Wong and has more to do with the fact that they have no reasonable backup options in the system for either SS or 2B. I don’t think they think Garcia is an option as any more than a low-end utility guy…they really have no one to play SS if Peralta goes down and starting next year 2B will be Wong/Carpenter and no one….and there isn’t anyone to backup Carpenter at 3B, really.

        I think this is generally just an organizational depth move and an opportunity that doesn’t come along all the time.

      • spudchukar - Mar 9, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        I’m in about 90% agreement. If he would square up a few more balls in ST, I would move that guess up to 100%.

      • paperlions - Mar 9, 2014 at 8:29 PM

        Yeah, I’d like to see some more of the solid contact Wong has had in the minors…and a better plate approach. At each level he’s usually started a little slow and came on after adapting, I am hoping that happens with some time at MLB as well. The organization has done such a good job of evaluating and developing players that it is hard not to have confidence in their moves…even the ones I hate at the time of the move.

        Wong has looked a lot better the last couple of days, better contact and a better approach at the plate. The ability it there, just hope the head doesn’t get in the way.

      • spudchukar - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:25 PM

        Agreed. Needs to let the game come to him a little more. But boy, is that ever easier said then done, especially when you are young, eager to impress, and pressing.

    • jwbiii - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:58 PM

      okwhitealcon: No. The current wave of Cuban defectors started when the Cardinals signed Rene Arocha in 1991. That didn’t work out due to his shoulder problems, IIRC. But they have signed a Cuban refugee before.

      spudchukar: From what I have read, the Cardinals will be paying Diaz more than the Dodgers paid for Alexander Guerrero. I don’t think the Cardinals intend to pay a utility infielder $5m+. Wong is either the utility guy or trade bait in the future.

      • okwhitefalcon - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:32 PM


        When did Rene’ Arocha and nearly a quarter of a century ago become “current”?

      • okwhitefalcon - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM


        Not sure where you’re getting the “Cardinals will be paying Diaz more than the Dodgers paid for Alexander Guerrero” info, all reports I’ve seen have it in the 15-20 mil range while the Dodgers paid 28 mil over 4 to Guerrero.

      • jwbiii - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        By the “current wave,” I mean established professional Cuban ballplayers who defected for the purpose of playing MLB baseball. This is different than players like Jose Canseco and Rafael Palmeiro, who were born in Cuba and whose families left Cuba and they grew up in the U.S.

        Maybe the first was Barbaro Garbey, who was part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980, but his escape (along with 125,000 other Cubans) was sanctioned by the Castro administration.

      • jwbiii - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:15 PM

        okwhitefalcon: You’re right about the price. That should be “more than Arruebarruena,” who is getting $5m/per, not Guerrero, who is getting $7m/per. Although I used the wrong example, my point still holds.

      • okwhitefalcon - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        I’ll give any Barbaro Garbey reference a thumbs up, awesome :)

      • jwbiii - Mar 9, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        Ok, Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi says

        Source: Aledmys Diaz’s contract with Cardinals is worth less than $20 million over four years.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 9, 2014

      • jwbiii - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        Derrick Goold is reporting that the deal is 4/$8m (!). At $2m, they could use Diaz as a bench player.

  6. proudlycanadian - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Isn’t this guy supposed to be a defensive liability at short stop and unproven at second base?

    • okwhitefalcon - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      Beyond generalities, no one knows yet.

      They’ll have a good idea either way as spring moves ahead, it’s obviously a gamble but they’re playing with house money and trusting their scouts opinions and their instructors ability to develop.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        Good response. I was going by earlier reports about him. From what I read, he expected to be signed by the start of spring training, but his contract demands turned some teams off.

    • spudchukar - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      Two things PC; I haven’t read anything about him not having the skills to play second. And his delay to Spring Training was primarily due to his penalty for lying about his age. He only became eligible to sign recently. The Cards have watched him for a long time. I don’t think they would have spent $20 mil on a guy who they have doubts will be able to perform somewhere at the MLB level. They have to be convinced this guy can hit, and with some thump.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:57 PM


      • spudchukar - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:59 PM


  7. thebadguyswon - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    It’s a solid gamble, we know that much.

  8. uyf1950 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    I’m sure this will garner more then it’s share of thumbs down but as I like to say I call it like I see it. I don’t know if the Cardinals are the best run organization in baseball or not. They are certainly one on the better run organizations in baseball. What I do know however is this. That playing in the National League Central Division with teams like the Pirates for the past 20 years (excluding 2013) the Cubs for god knows how long and the Brewers for the better part of 30 years (excluding 2008 and 2011) certainly hasn’t hurt the Cardinals chances of being successful. Not wanting to forget the Reds they have only be a force in the NL Central basically the past 2 years before that they were the very definition of mediocre.

    I also know that over the past 3 or 4 years the Cardinals would not have been as successful without the FA signings of Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman..

    Like I said I’m sure this post will garner more then it’s share of thumbs down. It will also inevitably draw some poster to make a comment about the Yankees, but this blog and this comment isn’t about the Yankees. Now don’t misunderstand me as I said in the beginning the Cardinals are certainly a very well run organization, but being the best is subjective. Besides however someone classifies the Cardinals organization they have had a lot of outside help being successful as I’ve outlined above, much of it not of their making.

    • spudchukar - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:25 PM

      UYF, my friend, I am so glad you have finally come around to my way of thinking. Stating that the Yankee success isn’t due to any of their “own making”, has been what many of us have been saying for years. Glad to see you have finally seen the light. Good to have you on our side.

    • danh35 - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      I stopped reading when this guy said that the Cards & Brewers have been in the same division for the better part of 30 years.

      • therooneyskilledwebster - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:20 PM

        Don’t you know, 15 is the new 30. He may want to change his moniker to uyf1998.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      So…it hurts when people still the Yankess thunder huh? I understand. Believe me. I truly do.

  9. fearlessleader - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    “I also know that over the past 3 or 4 years the Cardinals would not have been as successful without the FA signings of Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman.”

    Yes, and that’s part of being a well-run organization—making smart free-agent signings and not over-spending on bloated contracts.

    I am not sure what the 1980s and 1990s have to do with whether the Cards are a model franchise today. If anything, the current leadership has earned accolades by changing the way the club did business for many years, and focusing more on developing young talent (including international players like Diaz) and less on expensive veterans.

  10. Professor Fate - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Dodger sign Cuban talent=Evil Yankee$ We$t,
    Cardinals sign Cuban talent=smart, well-run club.

    Got it.

    • gibbyfan - Mar 9, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      I think the Cards, like a few other teams, are given credit for finding a way to win with limited dollars which is not easy to do and requires a certain amount of ability/competence/management………….The Dodgers have a great team too.maybe even the best in the game but they got there, like the Yankees by spending virtually unlimited dollars. Nothing wrong with that –great that they can do it, but the reality is that with 200 + million to spend it sort of takes the need for ability out of the equasion. I mean with that budget just about anyone could field a winner

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      Good point Professor.
      However, I feel like someone should point out it has far more to do with the overal payroll of the organization as a whole. You know…as opposed to the signing of one player in particular.

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