The story. With today being the deadline to tender contracts to players under team control, the situation of Aledmys Diaz was about the only one of interest. The 27 year old infielder saw his original 4 year, $8 million contract he signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent expire while he did not have enough MLB service time to qualify for salary arbitration. It meant the team had control over Diaz’s salary, but he also only have his salary reduced 80%.
The numbers. Diaz was a bit of a rookie sensation in 2016 as he would hit .300/.369/.510 with 17 home runs and a 133 wRC+. It was a continuation of a hot streak Diaz started on the previous summer after the team designated him for assignment to make room on the roster. Unfortunately, the clock struck midnight on Diaz in 2017.
Diaz ran into the sophomore slump this year, hitting .259/.290/.392 with 7 home runs and a 78 wRC+ in 301 plate appearances in the big leagues this season. He lost his starting job at shortstop to Paul DeJong and spent time at Triple-A Memphis.
J.B. Woodman, 23 this month, was drafted in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Blue Jays. After a stellar pro debut in low A ball, he struggled in Single-A Lansing last season where he hit .240/.329/.378 with 7 home runs in 96 games. The left handed hitting outfielder played a pretty even split of center and right fields this season and is considered a plus defensive outfielder. He had been considered the Blue Jays’ #28 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
The impact. 2/10. Behind Trevor Rosenthal, I always considered Diaz to be the Cardinals’ most likely non tender candidate. DeJong has a hold on shortstop at this point and with Jedd Gyorko and Greg Garcia as third basemen and the talk that they may use Matt Carpenter there next season there was just no reason to pay Diaz the at least $2 million they would have been obligated to pay him.
For Woodman, obviously he was viewed highly at one point in time as he’s just 18 months removed from being a second round draft pick. This is essentially a swap of two previously highly viewed guys who struggled last season.
This is a lottery ticket trade and probably indicates that the Cardinals were set to non-tender him, so getting something is better than nothing. And when Commissioner Manfred passes a rule outlawing infielders, the Cardinals are going to be set with so many outfielders in their system.