After Diaz’s demotion to Class AAA Memphis was finally put in his past, the former All-Star shortstop, Aledmys Diaz, and the St. Louis Cardinals are now able to work out their futures together.
Diaz and reliever Josh Lucas found themselves reunited with the St. Louis Cardinals on their active roster this last Wednesday in Cincinnati. Lucas will undoubtedly add depth to the Cardinals’ bullpen and the Cardinals will also be adding their switch-hitter Breyvic Valera.
“I don’t know if that’s going to happen here, if I’m going to get that chance, but I will enjoy this stretch and help this team in whatever way I can,” Diaz said. “I love to play shortstop. I always have. But at the same time, you never know the future. I don’t think about the offseason. I have to think about what I can control.”
Diaz, at 27 years old, had one of the greatest seasons for a rookie shortstop for the Cardinals a year ago. The young Cuban infielder holds a fifth all-time OPS ranking for Cardinals rookies at .879 and with a 3.5 Wins Above Replacement was the ninth best for any Cardinals rookie. Diaz also represented the Cardinals in the All-Star Game and set a rookie shortstop record with 17 homers which was later broken by Paul DeJong.
DeJong hit his 24th homer of the season Wednesday night and replaced Diaz at shortstop and, apparently, in the Cardinals’ plans.
While in Memphis, Diaz asked for a chance to take a shot at other positions and once the Redbirds clinched, he did just that. When Diaz was put down and demoted, he was leading the Cardinals in hits and doubles, but the Cardinal’s saw some troubling tell-tale signs in his strikeout rates and a shrinking on-base percentage.
“Like a lot of guys on our roster that deserve to be big-league players, we have to piece it together, and he’s a part of that,” general manager Michael Girsch said. “We don’t think that this is the new Aledmys. We know there’s more there.”
With the end of this season, Diaz’s four-year deal as a free agent from Cuba will also come to an end, but the Cardinals stand in a position of power, controlling his rights for at least another five years. This means that the Cardinals could renew his contract, and even do so with a slightly smaller salary.
“Kind of watching how it’s going this year, and what’s the spot he’s going to be in for us?” said manager Mike Matheny, who went to rookie Alex Mejia as his first sub off the bench at third base Wednesday. “Where can he go and help us? What position is it going to be? Is it going to be the outfield? Is it going to be third base? Is it going to be second? The way he’s been able to hit the ball in the past you do find a spot when a bat like his gets going.”