MMO Mailbag: Should Mets Pursue Aledmys Diaz?

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We’ve received a dozen emails lately asking about Cuban shortstop Aledyms Diaz who will soon be eligible to sign with any MLB team. After falsifying his age, Diaz had been prevented from signing with any team, but his punishment is up Feb. 19.

There has been plenty of interest in him and he’s considered one of the top international players available, especially now with Masahiro Tanaka signed, sealed and delivered.

I’ll leave the rest of this to our MMO Senior Editor and Minor League Analyst, Mitch… Joe D.

(Pretend drum roll)

Thoughts from Mitch Petanick…

There will be no shortage of teams that are interested in Diaz. An offensive-minded shortstop, Diaz’s swing is compact and powerful. He’s well rounded offensively—patient, and hits for average and power. Defensively, he has a tendency to make errors, but has solid range and a cannon of an arm. If he doesn’t clean up the defense he could always survive in an outfield role due to his bat and his strong arm.

I would expect that whatever team signs Diaz could start him in Double-A due to his advanced bat. If the Mets signed him, he could be in a position to help the team as early as this season. A short stint in the minors to acclimate Diaz would be all that is necessary.

When the Athletics signed Yoeonis Cespedes, he was 26 years-old, so the team felt comfortable throwing him into the major-league mix immediately. Diaz is a slightly different case—he’s a little bit younger, and due to the defensive question mark, the team that signs him will probably opt to start him in the minors to give him a little bit of polish before promoting him. Make no bones about it, I think this guy can be a very solid major league ball player and he should definitely be on the Mets’ radar.

Below is a brief but excellent clip of Diaz showing off his arm strength. Notice how he chases the slow roller into the hole to his right, throws off his back foot, and has enough arm strength and accuracy to nail the runner with about three steps to spare. That is a major league play.

  • MLBGM Fire TC

    Yes please

  • Mark

    Funny I heard exact opposite scouting of him. Great field no hit. Basically same as Hechaverria of Marlins. No thanks, we have Tovar for that.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    Youre thinking of the wrong Cuban Shortstop

    Youre referring to “Erisbel Arruebarruena” who is also a FA shortstop who is all glove, no bat

    NOT Aledmys Diaz who’s featured here and his bat is his calling card.

  • Destry

    Are you thinking of Arruebuerrena?

  • Mark

    Gotcha, thanks for the clarification.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    I would also like to add those errors he racked up in Cuba he was VERY YOUNG(inexperienced) at the position at the time.

    He was only age 19-21yrs old….

    Thats equivalent to Gavin Cecchini is now…imagine him in Triple-A or Double-A last year he wouldve struggled far worse.

    Diaz was playing at 19-21yrs old with grown men in their mid 20’s to mid late 30’s holding his own.

    And as with all young players, with more reps you improve at the position.

    ***Derek Jeter was a terrible defender at that age in the minors in Rookie and A-ball(21Errors & 56Errors)…. 😉 …..just saying lol

  • mitchpetanick

    Errors are easy to clean up I would be more concerned if his range and arm were bad.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    I completely agree…Errors are just mistakes that can be fixed like you state. Range and arm strength you either have it or you dont.

  • Bubbadubbs

    When a major league team signs a guy like him its not the same as drafting right? You sing them like a free agent and there fore most likely don’t get the control other than the specific contract length ?

  • Biggle Boy

    At some point,the Mets will bring in a young SS prospect. We’ll see if Diaz is the guy …

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    Diaz hit .315/.404/.500 with 12 home runs in 270 at-bats during the 2011-12 season in Cuba, his last before defecting. He hit .308/.401/.444 from 2008-12.

  • Bubbadubbs

    Or would it be the same as a montero/other Ifa? Whats the difference

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    He will be signing as any Free agent would…It would be a major league deal similar to Tanaka’s signing….after the contract is up he would be a free agent again.

    Which is why he lied about his age last year and said he was older than he really was.

    Because the new rule is if you are an international FA and younger than 23yrs old you would be subject to the amateur intl signing which their is a cap limit and the team has control of you as they would a draft pick(arb years etc)

    But if you are 23 and older(and I think have played 3yrs professional ball in your country) you arent subject to amateur rules and can sign for whatever a team is willing to pay, NO cap like in the Amateur international signing pool.

    Here is an article which is more detailed and clear:
    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/international-affairs/2012/2613345.html

  • CJM

    Derek Jeter was a terrible defender his entire career. But that’s beside the point.

  • Bubbadubbs

    Thanks, I didn’t know about the age cut off.

  • Harvey33

    It’s just not in Sandys nature, especially since we have no money, to sign unknowns to any kind of significant money. I don’t see it happening at all. When you have no money and are stingy with it (like Sandy is), it makes it very un-plausible for bigger international players to be had.

  • VfJ

    What do I know…
    but a SS who can hit could transform this lineup…

  • ReneNYM1

    I would bring him into spring training and see what we got before I start him in Double A,he might be the answer at SS.Either way I would go all out for him because it’s like getting another 1st rounder in 2011 draft and he is also very close if not in this year then by 2015 he should be ready.

  • KennyandtheMets

    “At some point the Mets will bring in a young SS.” I’ll believe that when I see it.

  • Captain America

    Not sure if the Diaz will be a SS in the mlb.

  • mitchpetanick

    Well if he signs with a team it will be a major league deal so he would be in spring training with the big boys and what you say could very well happen. Worst case scenario I see him in AA.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    Thats not true, thats just pure Yankee hatred

  • CJM

    Actually it’s entirely true. I’m not a Yankee hater, either, and I respect Derek Jeter a lot as a player. I’ve even met him before in a normal situation, at a gas station, and he was a cool dude. BUT he was not ever a good defender, by any measure, and pretty much anyone who knows baseball knows as much.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    The only people who think Jeter is a terrible defender are SABR A–holes…who use Flawed stats to rank players defensively…Idiots who dont know baseball will tell you stupid sh– like, “Dont trust your eyes” o_O wtf is that about lol

    You cant add up defense into stats, no matter how much you pencil pushers try.

    I dont give much of a damn about Jeter or how you met him at a gas station bathroom stall and tried to shake his hand while peeing.

    PASS.

  • How come people aren’t talking about this guy? It seems like Drew is getting the only attention.

  • Sandy is not the stingy one. It’s not his money.

  • Bail4Nails

    Great article, thanks! Below is a little article about Diaz from another scout. It compares Diaz’s numbers to other Cuban SS in the Majors right now. He rates better than the rest, including A. Ramirez. Pretty Impressive!

    http://www.obstructedview.net/news-and-rumors/dariel-alvarez-stats-aledmis-diaz-stats-and-cuban-comparisons.html

  • CJM

    Nope, it’s not just people into sabermetrics who understand how bad Jeter was at defense.

  • Captain America

    During the time Diaz played the talent pool of Cuban pitchers supposedly by experts had dwindled and the ball used many said was juiced.

    Not sure how to truly interpret the numbers and more likely it is a scouting call on the player’s tools, readiness, approach and character.

  • BarnRat

    Where might he project in the line-up? You mention power but I assume he has some speed as well?

  • mitchpetanick

    I tried to avoid looking at his numbers aside from his walk and strikeout rates – which were solid. In the limited video I’ve seen of his swing it looks legit – quick and compact. I wouldn’t look at his numbers as a determination of his success in the majors – with a guy like this you look at his intangibles and he has what it takes. I would see him following more of a path like Puig when he signs. If I were the Mets I would overpay him if I had to in order to get him here after seeing the success of recent Cuban defectors and the fact he’s playing a premium position.

  • Bail4Nails

    To me, what is appealing about this report is that he had similar #s to Ramirez, but in 300 more ABs.
    In almost 1100 ABs, Diaz had a .395 OBP! No matter where you play, that says you’re patient at the plate. No?

  • mitchpetanick

    There isn’t much out there on him – people know about Drew.

  • Endy10

    no players to give up, no draft picks to give up. I think this is one guy they need to go after

  • or people who have seen him do the range to the right jump throw to first to pretend he is better than he is.
    Jeter was never a good defender. Ever. One of the biggest reasons why no one takes the Gold Glove seriously

  • Bail4Nails

    Mitch, what do you think would be the ballpark offer that would get us Aledmys Diaz?

  • Ron

    I just don’t know about those orange baseball pants

  • mitchpetanick

    Funny you ask…I was just pondering this question. I think 6 years for $30 million can get it done. It’s not that big of an investment if he’s our future SS

  • Rocky Thompson

    The Mets have the $$$ – just offered Balfour $6 million per year.
    The Mets should be an attractive option – he would only have to beat out Tejada for a starting spot on the major league roster.
    The Mets have a need for a SS and a leadoff hitter.
    The Mets have been slow in pursuit of Drew, maybe it is because the Mets are interested in Diaz!

  • stemog

    At that price, he won’t be in the minors very long. They have to seriously consider him if they’re not going to pursue Drew.

  • calamityfrancis

    same price as drew over 2-3 years. I am totally on board with this.

  • BehindTheBag

    Under 25 year old athletic SS with plus bats don’t grow on trees, and we do not have any in our system. At least none that are within 3 years of the big leagues depending on how you feel about Rosario and Cechini.

    It’s a perfect match, we should get it done. Of course, I said that about Jose Abreu, so I’m not exactly holding my breath.

  • BarnRat

    I’d like to think so, but to be paranoid: wouldn’t Diaz be a prime target for the Yankees. Already over the luxury cap; cheaper than Drew per year; younger; a bit of time in the high minors and then fits in after Jeter finishes his farewell tour. I hope someone will tell me this is a stupid concern.

  • mitchpetanick

    I actually think there is a very good chance he can end up in pinstripes. If he turns out to be a bust, the Yankees would be one of the teams that could eat the $30-$40 million – I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dodgers in on him either after they hit the jackpot with Puig. Diaz will have the luxury of sitting back and picking the highest bidder.

  • mitchpetanick

    He would be a No. 2 or 3-hitter. Not enough power for the 4 or 5 hole.

  • BarnRat

    Not the desired answer, but I enjoyed the article. Well done.

  • BehindTheBag

    That’s great, because we need one of those. Sign him!

  • Matt Mosher

    I’m sold

  • Matt Mosher

    Oh yeah….it’s not going to happen.

  • I dunno. Abreu was a bigger risk as he played a power position. If his bat doesn’t translate, he’s gonna be garbage. A young, smooth fielding SS can get away with weaker than projected offense. Plus Diaz hasn’t been nearly hyped the way that Abreu was and we’re much later in the offseason. Not many teams looking for a long term SS at this point

  • vigouge

    And if he can’t stick at short like has been rumored then he can easily slide over to second.

  • vigouge

    Well he’s by all accounts not smooth fielding but his bat is legit enough for 2b.

  • Taskmaster4450

    This makes a lot more sense than going after a 28 year old Cuban catcher.

  • good range, great arm. Makes some errors.

  • Bail4Nails

    If he somehow made it onto the Mets current lineup, where would you bat him?

  • Kabeetz

    What the Mets can’t so is pay big bucks for an unknown quantity that doesn’t work out, unless they are internally committed to growing payroll by a specific margin going forward.

    They can’t write off international bust debt like the Yankees.

    What is it speculated he will ultimately sign for?

  • Not4

    Last 5 or so years, 100% agree that he was a serious defensive liability. Before that he was a solid average defender. Never great, but going overboard to claim he was bad. He appeared better defensively because he always seemed to have a knack for making an incredibly intuitive play at just the right time. (Which typified his career both in the field and at bat – he always seemed to do what was needed for the Yankees at just the right time.)

  • Yo

    Masahiro Tanaka not Hisanori

  • rexmack

    You’re an angry dude , you should get help for that. It is no way to go thru life

  • Short answer yes. However, this is not our first rodeo. Richie will sign some other Cuban and then joke about it a few days later.

  • Pike Miazza

    Cuban gravel infields don’t help either

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    Lollollol =D

    Actually im not….Im quite content

    Please dont try to assume my happiness or lack thereof by comments I type regarding baseball….especially the Mets

    Although I will say the current state of the Mets makes me angry >:-[ ….

    But in a baseball sense, as fans at a Mets games can go from screaming you suck Ike then in the next breathe play peek-a-boo with their baby girl…

    You can refer to it as concentrated anger… 😉

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    Nope not at all….Ive seen him make some pretty clutch plays over the years in pretty big situations and the good far exceeds the bad.

    Is he Brendan Ryan nope, but he isnt terrible either…far from it

    He isnt the sole reason the GG isnt taken seriously its also guys like Wright who won it twice and didnt deserve it.

  • Steven Knortz

    Please, yes, A shortstop who can hit. The Mets haven’t had one of those since…Tejada a couple years ago. (Not the Tejada we have now, the other one…the one that was young and barely OK.)

  • metFAN660

    Funny to see people saying that he’s young, so he might outgrow his fielding mistakes. Tejada didn’t make mistakes at that age, which wasn’t long ago at all, but there’s no way he can redeem himself. You don’t like him because he had an off year, and now you want the Mets to sign anyone. You’d take Frank Taveras back!

  • Captain America

    Per article that ran on espn questioning Cuban baseball in 2011:

    This is a classic made-in-Cuba solution. Rather than admit there is a systemic failure to develop quality pitchers in the amateur ranks, Cuban baseball bureaucrats blame it on a “juiced ball” while raising the pitching mound superfluously. The recent results of Cuban’s national team in international play (World Cup, Pan-Am Games) mirror the outcomes of Cuban National Series Games: superb hitting, lousy pitching. In the Pan-Am Games, Cuban pitching allowed 28 runs in only 4 games. The defections of Jose Contreras, Aroldis Chapman, Yunesky Maya and the retirement of Pedro Lazo & Norge Vera has eliminated Cuba’s high end pitching with nothing in the pipeline to fill the gap.

  • Matt Mosher

    They’ll be 10 teams in on him easily.

  • BehindTheBag

    Oh please. I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t like Tejada because he barely has one tool. He is a slap hitter who hits for a decent, but not great, average. He has ZERO power. He has ZERO speed. His range and arm at SS are average, nothing to write home about.

    Players can develop the tools they have, but if they have no tools to begin with, they have a low ceiling. That’s Ruben. He’s a backup middle infielder who we were talked into believing had great potential because we were forced to start him at a young age and he wasn’t awful.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think we have to definitely pursue going about Diaz. Tejada is not the long term answer at ss. We need a ss who hits for some pop and has a solid glove.

  • METS62FAN

    PERSONALLY, I CAN’T IMAGINE ONE VALID REASON NOT TO BE REASONABLY INTERESTED UP UNTIL THE PRICE GOES BEYOND POTENTIAL IMAAGINED RETURN. WITH A DEARTH OF SS CROPS RIPENING ON THE FARM SHIOPPING 4 PRODUCE ON THE MKT IS SIMPLY PERFORMING ONE;S DUE DILIGENCE.

    IT IS NOT AS IF THIS WAS YRS AGO WHEN WE HAD REYES MAINSTAYING THE LEFT INFIELD WHILE THE ORG. SS DEPTH APPEARED OVERFLOWING WITH THE LIKES OF LAGARES, VALDESPIN, FLORES, TEJADA, ETC. ALL RIPENING ON THE VINE MAKING ONE MORE ADDED TO THAT SEEMINGY APPARENT BUMPER CROP RISKING AN OVERSTOCKED SITUATION THREATENING SPOLAGE.
    OH HOW THINGS CAN CHANGE AS YOUTH GROWS & MATURES.

  • Captain America

    Wilmer Flores was originally a SS too. If the mets scouts feel Diaz projects as a 3B like many do they will likely pass on him.

  • Bail4Nails

    Yesterday, Mitch guestimated that 6 years at $30 million could land Diaz. That’s $5 million a year! Not bad at all for an investment! The simple fact that 8 other teams are interested, combined with Mitch’s take on his tools and mechanics, makes me think Aledmys Diaz is not too big a risk.

  • Metstheory22

    Maybe that is why we are not interested in Drew’s over priced figure.

  • Joshua Eichenbaum

    Obviously I’d love to see the Mets sign Diaz, but I highly doubt it will happen. They have shown very little interest in international free agents and earlier this offseason they passed on Jose Abreu, another defector who would have hypothetically filled a big hole of theirs. Alderson did just say, however, that it’s unlikely the Mets will sign Drew, so he might be looking into Diaz… or maybe I’m just reading too far into things…

  • mikefer

    Right now I would take buddy Harrelson over Tejada.

  • metFAN660

    I don’t know. You don’t need a superstar at every position, and if he hits .280/3/40 as your 8 hitter and plays a steady SS, that’s not exactly a black hole in your lineup.