Due to what Spring Training has been for players such as utility guys Robel García and Abraham Toro, plus the Astros’ payroll, there has been some whispering about a possible trade that could involve Aledmys Díaz. The Cuban infielder will make $3MM during the 2021 season.
In an ideal world, the Astros could trade away Díaz to get rid of those three million, with García or/and Toro making their way into Díaz’s spot on the 26-man roster and both playing multiple positions. Again, in an ideal world, the Astros would find an in-house option to be Carlos Correa’s backup at shortstop like, say, prospect Jeremy Peña.
But this isn’t always an ideal world. Things can go the wrong way and you can pay the price for trying to save three million. There are at least three reasons to try to change the minds of those who see a Díaz trade as a positive thing.
First, he’s been a good bat when healthy. Across 86 games, since he joined the Astros back in 2019, the Cuban owns a .807 OPS and a 1.5 oWAR. His stats include 17 doubles, 12 home runs, 46 RBIs, and 27 walks across 306 plate appearances.
Second, he’s a proven utility and maybe even one of the game’s best. Of every infield position, Díaz has covered all but catcher. He even has some experience in left field, where he’s played five times since becoming an Astro.
Third and last, Carlos Correa has not exactly been a workhorse. In fact, Correa —who is in his walk year— has played more than 110 games only once in his six-year career (2016), so it’s nice to have a good backup shortstop on the team, right?
Well, shortstop is Díaz’s natural position. During his first three seasons in the Major Leagues, the Cuban infielder appeared 269 times in one of baseball’s premium defensive spots. At least when it comes to Toro or García, none of them have seen action in shortstop in the MLB.
At least for this year and even considering everything they’ve spent so far, the Astros should keep Díaz on the team. It’s their safest bet and would help the team depth entering a long 162-game regular season.