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After being suspended for a year for falsifying his age, Aledmys Diaz became eligible to sign this week. According to a recent report from the SF Chronicle, the Oakland A’s have expressed interest in Diaz, this coming after previously expressing interest in the Cuban short stop last year before he was suspended. The A’s are far from the only team in on Diaz, as numerous teams had some presence at his workouts earlier this week. Some of the teams rumored to be involved include the Yankees, Padres, Cardinals, Mariners, Blue Jays, Giants, Braves, and Phillies. The Yankees, Cardinals, and Blue Jays have gone as far as having private workouts with Diaz. The A's, have said to not plan to hold out a workout for him, however they have gone to say "We've gathered all the information we can" about Diaz.
The interest appears there, however is he worth it? That appears to be the biggest question. It becomes a difficult task to break down a player who has played in a different country and be able to figure out how he will transition to a new country and league. His last season in the Cuban league was in 2011-2012 and Diaz was able to post a .315/.404/.500 slash line. He is described as a guy with a strong arm, but whether he will be able to stay at short stop could be up for debate. As for his price, it is rumored that his price tag may come near that of Alex Guerrero who signed with the Dodgers earlier this offseason for 4 years 28 million. He will be a risk due to the money involved if signed, but the promise appears to be there with Diaz and it could be worth a gamble.
If Diaz is the real deal, do the A's have a chance to get him? According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch , Diaz agent, Jaime Torres said "Money and the possibility for rapid advancement are pivotal in Diaz’s considerations". It is pretty obvious that money is to play a role in where he ends up. The highest bidder will have a good chance to land Diaz when all is set and done. However the other part of Torres statement is noteworthy enough to bring up. Diaz may consider rapid advancement as a significant feature to where he signs. This already appears to have a impact with one team Diaz has met with. When referring to Peralta's presence on the Cardinals, Torres described that to be a "factor". So while money will be a huge factor as to where Diaz lands, opportunity could be just as big of a factor into his decision when all is set and done.
Currently, the A’s have a middle infield mix of Jed Lowrie at shortstop and Nick Punto/Eric Sogard/Alberto Callaspo as second base options. While it is not clear whether Diaz will need time in the minors, finding a spot for him on the present team should not be a difficult task. Callaspo as it is will be try his hand at first base and Sogard has an option and can be sent down. That would allow Diaz a quick easy access to the majors and even the possibility of short stop if they choose to move Lowrie to second base. Looking at some of the other teams in on Diaz, very few present a current need for his services. He essentially would be blocked from the major league roster by many of the teams and many of these teams also have established shortstops already on their rosters. This could all become a factor in narrowing down what team Diaz goes to, as it was alluded to by Torres when referring to Peralta's presence on the Cardinals.
Diaz could be signing soon, and with a number of teams interested, it is hard to predict where Diaz ends up when all is set and done. I do believe however, if the A's can offer a deal near what Diaz is looking for, they will be a strong candidate for his services because they give him a opportunity to reach the majors quickly and it does not hurt to be a contending team with a fellow Cuban player. These small things could add up and make Oakland an appealing option for Diaz.