With the injury concerns of Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis, upgrading their utility infielders was a big priority for Ross Atkins this off-season. The duo of Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins, neither of whom are decent hitters forced the Blue Jays hand to go out and acquire Diaz who should be a considerable upgrade when it comes to what he can do at the plate.
Diaz, who’s still just 27 years old and with five more years of team control is also a fair bit younger than the 32-year old Barney and soon to be 30-year old Goins. And although he had an off year in 2017, during Diaz’ rookie campaign of 2016, he was an all-star and had an impressive .300 AVG, with 17 HR and 65 RBI in just 111 games. He also finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting.
This move doesn’t spell the end for Goins’ time with the Blue Jays. Although Goins was non-tendered, if Toronto can manage to sign him to a reasonable deal, they’d still love to have him and his stellar defensive skills. Considering that Goins is a superior defender to Diaz, it would be nice to retain a utility infielder who’s as solid defensively as Goins.
Not that I’m complaining, but this is a very funny move for the Cardinals. Diaz is still a long ways away from becoming a free agent, and certainly someone who played as well as he did during his rookie year just one-year ago would be worth holding onto. Parting with Woodman isn’t a huge loss for the Blue Jays who have at least three other outfielders (Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith) in their farm system who appear to be better players. Acquiring a talent like Diaz for just one Single-A prospect is quite the bargain for the Blue Jays, and it won’t take long to see just how much of a bargain it is.