The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed Cuban free-agent Aledmys (pronounced ah-led-mees) Diaz to a Major League contract. The shortstop will report to the Cardinals Major League spring training camp on Monday.
During 2012, his final season playing for Los Naranjas de Villa Clara in Cuba’s Serie Nacional professional league, the 23-year old hit .315 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 270 at-bats.
Beginning when he was age 17, Diaz played five seasons for Serie Nacional—which is Cuba’s highest level professional league and has produced such recent players as Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes, the Dodgers Yasiel Puig and Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman.
“We have been following Aledmys for quite some time,” stated Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. “His signing marks a significant benchmark for the Cardinals in the international arena and we are excited to have reached this agreement.”
The Cardinals anticipate Diaz will begin the 2014 season at the high minor league level as he becomes familiar with the organization. The 6-1, 195-pound right-handed hitting Diaz held a private workout for the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. last month.
Diaz, born on August 1, 1990 in Santa Clara, Villa Clara, Cuba, has represented Cuba in several international tournaments, including the 2010 World University Championship games in Tokyo, Japan. He currently resides in Mexico City, Mexico after defecting from Cuba while playing in a tournament in Holland in July of 2012.