Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Jeter's Potential Successor: Aledmys Diaz

 

New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday that he will be retiring succeeding the 2014 season. They have not announced his successor yet, but it could be Aledmys Diaz.

When healthy, Jeter has been the team’s primary shortstop for 20 seasons. The Yankees have some players that could play shortstop next season.

The players on the Yankees that have experience playing shortstop are Brendan Ryan and Eduardo Nunez. Alex Rodriguez also has experience playing shortstop, but he is suspended for the 2014 season.

Rodriguez also has been the Yankees’ third baseman since they acquired him in 2004.

Diaz could be competing with Ryan and Nunez for the team’s starting shortstop next season, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports 1.

Diaz was originally a free agent during the 2013 offseason, but he was suspended a year for falsifying his age. He listed that he was 23-years-old, so Major League Baseball, MLB, teams would be able to view him as a ‘normal’ free agent, according to Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com.

Prior to an international prospect turning 23-years-old, the MLB has international spending restrictions, according to Axisa.

Diaz held a showcase to show his talent to MLB teams’ scouts on Thursday at the San Diego Padres’ Spring Training complex, according to Steve Adams of MLBTradeRumors.com. Morosi tweeted on Thursday, “Yankees were among teams scouting Cuban free agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz at his showcase today, sources say.”

He was six-feet, one-inch tall and weighed 185 pounds last year. He is a right-handed hitter and he played shortstop in Cuba and with the Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific League, according to Michael Eder of itsaboutthemoney.net.

From 2008 to 2012, Diaz played in Cuba. During that time period, he had a .308 batting average, .401 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage, according to Axisa.

This includes a good 2012 season.

Diaz hit 12 home runs, stole 11 bases, hit for a .315 batting average and had a .977 fielding percentage. He also had more walks than strikeouts, 35 to 25, according to Eder.

Diaz defected from Cuba in July 2012 while they were in the Netherlands, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Diaz has played for one other team since defecting from Cuba.

He played for the Tomateros de Culiacan. The Mexican Pacific League’s website listed him as being hitless in one game during the 2013 season.

Diaz’s success in Cuba contributed to more than 20 scouts from MLB teams attending Thursday’s showcase with Cuban right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. Eder wrote his thoughts of Diaz on Jan. 23.

“There isn’t enough video for me to come to my own conclusions on Diaz. In the small sample of YouTube footage, he seems to have a relatively simple set up and stride, good bat speed, but a long swing. He hit for a substantial amount of power in his final year in Cuba, and that came without many strikeouts, so it’s possible that his eye is good enough to avoid whiffing on MLB breaking balls with that swing.

“Considering the reports from other scouts, Diaz could be major league ready upon signing.”

It is unknown how interested the Yankees are in signing Diaz, but they did send at least one scout to watch his showcase, according to Morosi. The Yankees, along with other teams, are not allowed to make Diaz an offer until Tuesday night, according to a tweet, on Thursday, by Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.

The San Diego Union-Tribune tweeted on Thursday how much Diaz’s final contract could be:

“We’re told Cuban SS Aledmys Diaz could get deal around $20-$30M. Serious money and interest. Well over dozen teams attended #Padres workout.”

Diaz is ineligible to sign a contract until Wednesday at the earliest, according to Adams. Cotillo tweeted that Diaz might decide which MLB team he wants to sign with on Friday or Saturday.

Yankees’ principal owner Hal Steinbrenner has spent $465 million this offseason to try to build a World Series caliber team, according to Ted Berg of USA Today. Steinbrenner might make one more ‘splash’ this offseason by signing Diaz.

Tags: Aledmys Diaz

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