Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz has drawn interest from over 20 teams, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, and could command between $20 million and $30 million, as UT San Diego reports. Diaz is currently holding a showcase for teams at the Padres spring training camp in Peoria, Ariz.
Diaz, 23, was recently cleared by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) after a falsified birth date caused a delay in his free agency. Since he played the minimum of three seasons in Cuba's Serie Nacional, Diaz will be eligible to sign with any team as a free agent, and his contract will not count against that club's international pool budget.
While he doesn't posses Hamiltonian speed or a bat that will invoke visions of the all-time greats, Diaz does have a strong arm from short and showed good plate discipline during his time playing in Cuba's top professional league (139 walks to 107 strikeouts from 2008 to 2012). He might not be able to stick at short, and would almost certainly need some seasoning in the minors, but Diaz could be a good long-term investment for teams without solidified plans at shortstop.
The interest in Diaz could be one of the major factors bottlenecking the market for free agent shortstop Stephen Drew. Diaz is much younger, and while he hasn't proven himself as Drew has, he offers teams an option to add to their organizational depth at shortstop without having to surrender a draft pick to sign him. After Diaz signs, the market for Drew could pick up.