Two Cuban defectors – now 23-year-old shortstop Aledmis (sometimes “Aledmys”) Diaz, and 24-year-old outfielder Dariel Alvarez – were suppose to hold a workout in Mexico last weekend.
It was postponed, according to Jesse Sanchez, who says it will be at the end of this month. No reason given for the postponement, but it might have to do with drumming up the maximum possible financial interest (as the off-season shakes out, more teams might know that they’ve got additional financial flexibility). Sanchez added that at least 10 teams have “strong interest” in Diaz.
Diaz, is thought to be the better of the two prospects. The two players are not considered Soler/Puig caliber prospects, but they’ve been scouted very little. In other words, they might be a lot better than we think, or they might be fringe types.
I was really hot on Diaz but one thing I didn't like is Diaz is prone to errors with 24 in his last year in 90 games played, third most in his league for a SS. He supposedly has the reaction time and fielding speed to play the position with an above average arm. Then again, with that many errors, he may not be able to handle SS.
Diaz hits with some power and the ability to hit for average and draw walks. He hit .315 with a .404 OBP and 12 HRs in his last season for Villa Clara but that HR total includes the playoffs. He's an average runner and has never stole more than 7 bases, something not stressed in Cuban baseball. If he's all bat it would decrease his value considerably.
Alvarez hit .354/.371/.521 in 152 bats in La Liga Invernal Veracruz of Mexico in 2012 during his age-24 season. In his last season in Cuba, Alvarez set career highs with a .363/.404/.613 line and 20 home runs in 344 at-bats in 2011.
The 6-foot-2, 190 pound Alvarez can play all three outfield positions and has impressed Major League scouts with his above-average arm during league-play in Mexico making him a potential fit in right field or center field for interested teams.
Now Diaz is the position we really need with little depth at SS but Alvarez may look good in Oakland's outfield in a year or so. He may also sign for a lot less money than Diaz. A George Solar type contract (9 years 30 million) could be a steal. Diaz could end up with a contract more like OF Yasel Puig. Puig, 21, signed a 7 year, 42 million dollar contract. Puig hit .330 with 17 HR his last season in Cuba.
In Beane's interview on 95.7 the other week he said they are looking for only short term SS help and are very high on Russell. So I doubt they pursue Diaz if that's their plan and Beane's being strickly honest especially after signing Nakajima. The A's may not want to commit the years and money to Diaz if they feel Russell can be ready in 2-3 yrs. But we WILL have a hole or two in the outfield in a year or two after Crisp and Young are gone (I can't see the A's resigning either one for their cost/age in two years).
Can the A's afford 3-6 million next year for someone who may be in AAA all year?
They were at ~53 million last year without Drew and lost around 20m in payroll from Fuentes, Braden, McCarthy, Gomes and Suzuki departing. They may/probably? owe 5m of Suzuki's 6.5m in 2013, and have an extra 11+ million in raises to Cespedes, Crisp, Anderson, Colon and the 4-5 arb cases. Add 12m for Young/Nakajima and the 2013 payroll number seems to be around 60 million plus or minus a few million.
The A's revenue stream will go up considerably this year in two ways. One, the new national TV contracts kick in like ESPN. Each team will get around double per year or an extra 15-20 million per team, per year. Two, the new individual team TV contracts are suppose to pool 33% to be shared, up from 20%. This means if Texas gets 100 million a year, 33m goes into the pot to be shared by all the teams (The Doger's contract is excluded because of a sweetheart bankruptcy deal). I'm not sure how much extra to the A's this will be over last year, but it will be significant.
The payroll was 67m as recently as 2011, and 79m back in 2007. So it seems like they not only have enough for one but both players If they really wanted to plan/gamble for the near future. So the money is there, at least 10m or so for a team in contention.
Should we try for one of these players or get real creative and get both of them? Or should we use the money ( assuming we have 10m, and only 10m), for mid-season trade upgrades when someone goes down or bombs or just to get better for another playoff run?