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.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.