On Wednesday afternoon, following the club's usual spring training workout, the Cardinals held a private workout for free agent Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. GM John Mozeliak, manager Mike Matheny and various front office personnel and coaches were in attendance.
According to Strauss, Diaz worked out for 45 minutes at shortstop exclusively. He has worked out for other clubs at second base. The Cardinals are expected to make a formal offer very soon, perhaps within the next 24 hours. Here's more from Strauss:
(Diaz's agent Jaime) Torres told the Post-Dispatch after the 45-minute workout that he expects his client will reach a decision by Friday or Saturday.
Diaz established residency in Mexico after defecting from Cuba and is prepared to join spring training immediately, according to Torres. Though Diaz still awaits necessary paperwork to participate in full-squad spring training games, he is eligible to appear in B games.
"He is prepared to move very quickly," Torres said of the timetable for signing. Wednesday represented the first day teams could submit formal bids for Diaz.
"He's a player we've had interest in for awhile and the next natural step in the process was to put him in front of our people in this setting," Mozeliak said Wednesday afternoon.
Diaz, 23, is eligible to sign with teams starting today after serving a one-year suspension for falsifying age and identity information. He tried to pass himself off as older than his real age so he would not be subject to MLB's spending restrictions for international players. Most players try to pass themselves off as younger. Diaz can sign with any team for any amount now that he is actually 23.
Four teams are believed to have serious interest in Diaz. The Yankees, Blue Jays, Giants, Dodgers and Braves were among the clubs connected to the right-handed hitter last summer. Aside from the San Francisco, all of those teams could use immediate help at second base. St. Louis has rookie Kolten Wong penciled in at the position after signing Jhonny Peralta to play shortstop.
Diaz hit .315/.404/.500 with 12 home runs in 270 at-bats during the 2011-12 season in Cuba, his last before defecting to Mexico. He hit .308/.401/.444 from 2008-12. Reports on his defense are mixed, which is why some teams expect him to move to the other side of the bag.