Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oakland exploring Aledmys Diaz

Rumors have surfaced for the second consecutive offseason that the Athletics are intrigued by the prospects of Cuban shortstop sensation, Aledmys Diaz, who defected from his homeland prior to 2013. There was a highly publicized snafu in regards to Diaz' age that prevented Oakland from acquiring him for the 2013 campaign as his age was exaggerated and he was deemed ineligible to participate with a major league organization until 2014. Now, having just been cleared to ink with a MLB franchise on February 19th, Diaz has accumulated a gaggle of suitors attempting to purchase his services for this approaching season. The A's have been quite fond of Diaz, but shall have to compete with a plethora of ballclubs including Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis and Atlanta to coincide with the projected pricetag of $7-8M per campaign. While lofty for an organization in Oakland already anticipated to boast an approximate $80M 2014 payroll, the Athletics could value the middle infielders' tools enough to even further balloon their monetary constraints to permit the former Serie Nacional de Beisbol standout onto their roster.

Now legitimately 23 years old, Diaz possesses exemplary arm strength at shortstop and outstanding plate discipline, an oddity for a Cuban national team member, despite a loopy swing that could occasionally be exposed by MLB pitching. Still, his power projection bodes well even within the Coliseum and is expected to acclimate smoothly to the majors. Wielding a  .303/.372/.440 slash, 135:114 BB/K, and 30 HR marks through over 1200 Cuban PAs prior to 2013 in a performance through his age 18-21 season that ranks better than Alexi Ramirez, Yunel Escobar and Yuniesky Betancourt, Diaz would likely commence in Sacramento or Midland initially for Oakland, but could rapidly ascend dependent upon his performance. Oakland would all but certainly attempt to shift Diaz from shortstop as well with Addison and Lowrie already entrenched there, making 3B a legitimate possibility or even 2B regardless of that transition possibly squandering his throwing prowess as he additionally demonstrates phenomenal range. The Athletics shall not hold an individual workout for Diaz though, and could be outbid by a considerably more competitive contingent than with Nakajima, as Hiroyuki's only other publicized organization attempting to get him was Arizona. Should they snag Aledmys, there might have to be a corresponding payroll dump, but position shouldn't be of any concern because either Lowrie will shift to second or Diaz will shift to 3B/2B. 

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