The Cardinals have agreed to sign Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz, the team announced. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says it is a four-year contract, though financial terms are unknown. He will be with the team in spring training on Monday.
Diaz, 23, worked out for the Cardinals privately earlier this spring. The team liked him because he's versatile, capable of playing both second base and shortstop. St. Louis signed shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year contract over the winter and will have rookie Kolten Wong at second this year, though there is no such thing as too much middle infield depth.
Diaz recently served 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 was free to sign with any amount after the suspension.
As many as six teams were 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. All of those teams could have used immediate help at second base, including San Francisco given Marco Scutaro's back problems.
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 remain at second base long-term.