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.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.