Moments after non-tendering Ryan Goins, the Toronto Blue Jays traded for St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz.
Heading to St Louis is 22-year-old outfield prospect J.B. Woodman. The former second round pick was ranked the 28th best Jays prospect by MLB.com for the 2016 NL All Star.
With the 27-year-old Diaz, Toronto now has insurance for the oft-injured middle infielders Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki, but with much better offensive upside than Ryan Goins. Diaz made the All Star team in 2016, hitting .300/.369/.510, but didn’t follow that up well, being sent down. Diaz finished the year slashing .259/.290/.392 for St. Louis. That line would still be an improvement for the backup infield spot, however.
Woodman played 96 games with the Lansing Lugnuts, hitting .240/.320/.378.
With Diaz, the Blue Jays probably see no further need to go out and pay more than they should for utility player Eduardo Nunez or any other infielder. After being sent down, Diaz was versatile, playing 55 innings at second base and 78 innings at third base for the Memphis Redbirds of the PCL. He also short, third, left, and second in the big leagues. While he is below-average defensively at shortstop, he is adequate at all the other spots and just good enough to handle SS on a temporary basis without killing you.
In the end, if Diaz is anything like he was in 2016, this is a steal for the Blue Jays and a truly viable starter. If not, it still looks pretty good as a backup and occasional fill-in. Diaz was pretty rough at the plate this year, but anybody looks good compared to Ryan Goins. If, as expected (and as his minor league track record suggests), Diaz’ production is somewhere in between his 2016 and 2017 levels, he’s a great pickup and will be a very suitable third middle infielder behind Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis.
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