Jhonny Peralta’s fill-in? Aledmys Diaz announces candidacy with four-hit game

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Jhonny Peralta‘s torn thumb ligament means the Cardinals are in need of a new starting shortstop for at least the first month of the season and possibly much longer. Jedd Gyorko going from utility man to starter is an obvious possibility, but don’t count out 25-year-old prospect Aledmys Diaz getting the job.

Diaz went 4-for-4 with two doubles today against the Twins and afterward manager Mike Matheny sure seemed impressed. When asked by Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com if it was worth putting a lot of stock in Diaz’s performance, Matheny replied: “Why wouldn’t you? You have young player who plays the position and had a great game.”

Diaz spent last season between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting .278 with 13 homers and a .784 OPS in 116 games. Those are certainly solid overall numbers for a 24-year-old shortstop and within that production Diaz had a huge stretch run in which he hit .376 in August and September.

A few more big games and he might convince Matheny and company to leave Gyorko in a bench role.

Report: Mets sign Brad Brach to one-year, $850,000 contract

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.

Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.

While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.