A year ago, Aledmys Diaz looked like the Cardinals' shortstop of the future after a strong rookie season. His disappointing second season, and his tenure in St. Louis, ended Friday night as the Cards traded Diaz to the Blue Jays for outfield prospect J.B. Woodman.The Cardinals tendered contracts to each
A year ago, Aledmys Diaz looked like the Cardinals' shortstop of the future after a strong rookie season. His disappointing second season, and his tenure in St. Louis, ended Friday night as the Cards traded Diaz to the Blue Jays for outfield prospect J.B. Woodman.
The Cardinals tendered contracts to each of the unsigned players on their 40-man roster before Friday's 7 p.m. CT deadline, including three who are eligible for arbitration this offseason. But they parted ways with the 27-year-old Diaz, who struggled at the plate as rookie Paul DeJong claimed the starting shortstop job.
Starter Michael Wacha, outfielder Randal Grichuk and reliever Tyler Lyons, all arbitration-eligible, were unsurprisingly offered contracts for next season. The Cards' most complicated decision on that front would have been Trevor Rosenthal, whom they released last month. Wacha is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, while Grichuk and Lyons are eligible for the first time.
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Wacha should be back in next year's rotation with Lyons in the bullpen. With the Cardinals possessing an outfield surplus, it is unclear if Grichuk will return. But it would have made little sense to non-tender the 26-year-old Grichuk, thus making him a free agent, when they could find interest in him on the trade market.
The Cards found a taker for Diaz despite his underwhelming sophomore campaign. He was outstanding in 2016, slashing .300/.369/.510 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs in 111 games. Diaz was named to the National League All-Star team and finished fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.
He hit just .259 with a .682 OPS in 79 games in 2017, however, losing his starting job and eventually his spot on the Major League roster. Diaz returned to the Majors in late September after rosters expanded and made four appearances at third base and a brief one at second. The club encouraged that versatility, and Diaz believed it might help him carve out a role in the Majors.
"I want to be an everyday player in the big leagues," Diaz said recently. "That's why I wanted to get work at second base and third base. It gives me more options, and hopefully an organization will give me a chance to play every day. That's what I want to do."
Woodman, the Jays' second-round Draft pick in 2016, was Toronto's No. 28 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. The left-handed-hitting outfielder batted .240 with a .699 OPS, seven home runs and eight steals in 96 games for Class A Lansing this year. Woodman, who turns 23 on Dec. 13, has mostly played center and right field.
Following Friday's moves, the Cardinals have 38 players on their 40-man roster.
Adam Berry has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.