As first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Cardinals have agreed to a major league contract with Cuban infielder Aledmys Diaz. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that it’s a four-year deal.
Diaz will arrive at Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida on Monday morning. No word on the financial terms.
The Cardinals already have their Opening Day infield set with Matt Adams at first base, Matt Carpenter at third base, Jhonny Peralta at shortstop, and a platoon of Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis at second base. So Diaz is more of a luxury than a necessity and may open the 2014 season in the minor leagues to get properly acclimated to professional baseball.
Diaz, 23, batted .315/.404/.500 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases across 313 plate appearances during his final year in Cuba. He established residency in Mexico after defecting in the summer of 2012.
The Yankees, Blue Jays, Mariners, Padres, and Giants all expressed interest in him this winter.
UPDATE, 5:21 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says the four-year deal is worth less than $20 million.
UPDATE, Monday, 12:18 p.m. ET: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the figure: $8 million.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.