The Astros might lose utility man Marwin Gonzalez in free agency. If so, perhaps they now have insurance in the form of former All-Star Aledmys Diaz. The Astros announced they acquired Diaz on Saturday from the Blue Jays for Triple-A pitcher Trent Thornton in a one-for-one swap.
Diaz, 28, had an unexpected breakout season in 2016 as a rookie. He hit .300/.369/.510 (134 OPS+) with 17 homers and 65 RBI in 111 games during an All-Star season. Since then, though, he's been a major disappointment. In 2017-18 combined, he hit .261/.298/.428 (95 OPS+). He did hit 18 homers in 422 at-bats last season, so there's some power. Some might see the September numbers (.311/.369/.500) or second-half numbers (.290/.333/.523) and get excited as well.
Diaz has mostly played shortstop in his career and obviously Carlos Correa has that held down. He's also played some third base (Alex Bregman) and second (Jose Altuve). He has nine innings in left field as well, so, again, maybe Marwin Gonzalez is the model. He started out as a utility infielder and ended up playing only outfield in 2018.
Thornton, 25, was 9-8 with a 4.42 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 124 1/3 Triple-A innings last season. He pitched to a 4.02 ERA in 15 2/3 innings with 20 strikeouts against four walks in the Arizona Fall League. He's mostly been a starter, but he could end up impacting the Blue Jays' bullpen in 2019.