Blue Jays add former all-star Diaz to infield mix

 The Toronto Blue Jays acquired 2016 National League all-star infielder Aledmys Diaz from the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

The Toronto Blue Jays acquired 2016 National League all-star infielder Aledmys Diaz from the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

By Michael DiStefano

Canadian Baseball Network

After electing to non-tender Ryan Goins, the Toronto Blue Jays subsequently made a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night to bolster their infield depth by acquiring former National League All-star shortstop Aledmys Diaz.

The Blue Jays sent 2016 second-round pick J.B. Woodman to the Cardinals for the Santa Clara, Cuba, native.

Diaz, 27, earned himself a top-five position in the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year polling after sporting a .300 batting average with 17 homers and 65 RBI with the Cardinals.

It should be noted that his stunning freshman year was a bit of an outlier. Diaz’ best offensive season in the minors was in 2015 at triple-A where he hit .278.

Diaz resorted back to form in 2017 after his stellar 2016. Granted, he was dealing with an injury throughout the season. While nursing a thumb injury, Diaz was limited to just 79 games in his second season in the big leagues. The former all-star’s offensive production fell from a .300 batting average to just .258 with seven home runs and 20 RBI.

The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly been interested in finding a utility player, and after the departure of infielders Goins and Darwin Barney, a spot on the roster for a utility player like Diaz has opened up.

The right-handed shortstop has played primarily in the six spot on the diamond, but with Troy Tulowitzki manning the middle of the infield, Diaz will most likely need to make himself useful in other areas around the diamond.

The Santa Clara native has spent time at second and third base, as well as a hand full of games in the outfield so far in his 190-game major league career.

Another thing to consider with the acquisition is the length of club control on his contract.

Diaz still has nearly five years of service time available before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Therefore, he will only be able to make a limited amount money over the next few years through arbitration, which fits what the Blue Jays like to do as far as acquiring players with years of club control because it allows the team to keep the payroll low and keep the leverage on their side.

Diaz has shown potential with the bat in the past and the Blue Jays will hope he can revert back to his 2016 all-star level. He may not become a starter right away, but if he can be a reliable bat off the bench, and a dependable fielder, the Blue Jays should be satisfied with this addition.

Michael DiStefano

Michael grew up in Niagara Falls, Ont., but moved to Toronto to pursue his passion for sports journalism. He was introduced to baseball at a young age, and fell in love with the sport right away. True story, Michael’s mother was pregnant with him during the 1993 World Series and minutes after Joe Carter’s home run the family, baby in the tummy and all, packed into the car and drove to Toronto to celebrate with their fellow fans. Thus, he was quite literally introduced to baseball at an early age. His favourite birthday present every year came from his uncle John who always bought him Blue Jays tickets. Michael started writing at the ripe age of 17 when he decided to blog about his three favourite sports: football, hockey and baseball. Michael once took a trip to Dunedin, Fla. for spring training where he got his first taste of real baseball writing experience. That was the moment he knew he wanted to be a journalist. 

 

You can find Michael on Twitter @mickey_canuck."