Sep 29, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A general view of Rogers Centre prior to a game between Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Two prominent Cuban defectors, pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne and shortstop Aledmys Diaz, held their player showcases for team scouts on Thursday and, and many were in attendance. According to a tweet by Jon Morosi of FoxSports, the Blue Jays were in attendance as well, specifically to see Diaz.
Diaz, a 23-year-old , is currently ineligible to sign with teams, a punishment handed down by MLB offices due to a false birth certificate. Diaz attempted to falsify his birth month in order to allow him to bypass the international bonus pool. However, his penalty will be up on February 19th, allowing him to find an eligible suitor.
It’s easy to see what the Blue Jays like in him. For a middle infielder, he carries a big bat, with some scouts grading him out with a 60 bat tool and a 60 power tool. However, his range at shortstop has been questioned and many feel a position change could be in the cards long term. He has solid arm strength though, so a shift to second or third, or even an outfield corner wouldn’t be out of the question.
Enter the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto has a solid, everyday shortstop in Jose Reyes, as well as a plethora of high-ceiling prospects at short as well. However, what they do lack is a solid second baseman, with an open competition in camp between Ryan Goins, Maicer Izturis, and any other shred of a player Alex Anthopoulos can churn up between now and April.
However, Diaz has been seen as the primary reason why teams aren’t quick to jump on Stephen Drew. Those teams include both the Yankees and Mets, with the Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants, Orioles, and others in the mix as well.
In his final season in Cuba, at the age of 21, Diaz slashed a solid .315/.404/.500 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 313 plate appearances. If that bat holds up to Major League pitching, it could be ready shortly and project out to a 20-home run potential.