Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz has drawn interest from multiple MLB teams this winter, but his situation just got a bit more complicated. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, MLB is currently investigating his age.
At issue is that Diaz is presenting himself as a 23-year-old born on January 8, 1990. However, one report suggests that he was born on August 1, 1990, which would make him 22. There is also a roster for the 2010 Pan-American games which says he was born in 1991.
Whether Diaz is 23 or younger is pretty significant if you consider that MLB teams are now limited by an international spending cap. It’s $2.9 million for each team during the 2011-2012 international spending period. However, Cuban players with at least three years of professional experience and who are at least 23 are exempt from those bonus pools. In other words, Diaz could stand to make a lot more money if he’s 23 as opposed to 22 or 21.
MLB has yet to rule on whether Diaz is exempt from the bonus pools and they also want him to present an unblocking license from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before he can sign with a team. In the meantime, Diaz has established residency in Mexico.
Mets minor league outfielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently promoted from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie. Critics suggested that, because Tebow wasn’t exactly lighting up competition with Columbia, the promotion was just about marketing.
Tebow, to his credit, has gotten off to a good start with St. Lucie. In his first at-bat with his new team, he hit a two-run home run, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. The home run came on a 3-1 count against starter Junior Fernandez of the Palm Beach Cardinals. Fernandez is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
With Columbia, Tebow was hitting a paltry .220/.311/.336 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 244 plate appearances.
The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis and infielder Alex Mejia’s contract has been purchased from Memphis.
Diaz, 26, impressed last season when he posted an .879 OPS and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. This year has been rough on Diaz, as he’s batting .260/.293/.396 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 288 plate appearances. He’s the second major Cardinals player to get sent down to the minors along with Randal Grichuk.
Diaz was surprised by the demotion. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:
Mejia, 26, opened the season with Double-A Springfield but was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. With Springfield, he hit .251/.305/.366 in 251 PA. In 42 PA with Memphis, he hit .263/.333/.289.