Aledmys Diaz's unconventional age issue could push any MLB signing past Spring Training

Dennis Grombkowski

Aledmys Diaz, the Cuban shortstop prospect the St. Louis Cardinals showed an interest in last month, might be even younger than he said he was. In 2013, that's a bad thing.

Not sure how I missed this one: If you were wondering why Aledmys Diaz—the Cuban shortstop the St. Louis Cardinals evinced an interest in last month—hasn't signed anywhere a week into Spring Training, it's because there's an age-gate situation brewing. Not the Angel Berroa kind, though, the Edgar Renteria kind: He might be younger than we thought he was. And the new international free agency rules mean that six extra months of development are, for once, a bad thing.

Ben Badier wrote it up three weeks ago: Cuban pros who are 23 years old don't count under the international signing pool; Cuban pros who aren't 23 do. Earlier this offseason the Cardinals spent $950,000 of their $2.9 million pool on Dominican-by-way-of-New-Jersey Alex Reyes.

Badier seems down on Diaz in general, as a big league prospect, but his development as a hitter in Cuba is pretty impressive, no matter which age is right. (For stats and translations, click through to the sidebarred article.) The Cardinals could certainly use a spare shortstop prospect, but for the moment it looks like logistical uncertainty means nobody will sign him, at least not soon.

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