The White Sox do love their Cubans. Though it’s possible they’re not in love with the Cubans they have. Specifically Alexei Ramirez is a slow start away from falling out of favor after a poor 2012 campaign that saw him fail to reach base at even a .300 clip. So now that 10 teams are interested in Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz and are headed to see him showcase his talents in late January, will the White Sox be among them?
Alexei is a strong defensive shortstop, and it’s a defense first spot on the field. Maybe we shouldn’t get so worked up about his low production. Well 19 shortstops received enough at-bats in 2012 to qualify for the batting title and Alexei’s .651 OPS puts him at 18th. The bat at shortstop matters less than most other places on the diamond, but it matters, and coming in very near dead last producing with that bat is a problem.
Light rumors about the White Sox being involved in a trade for Jason Kubel created a question of who would replace Ramirez at short if he were to be traded away. The internal options are basically non-existent in the immediate future. Carlos Sanchez needs some time and would probably be better off at second base anyway. I don’t know much about Aledmys Diaz but he is 23 years old and has professional baseball experience. The 6’1” 185 pound right hander also won’t be subject to international signing budget restrictions and can be signed as a regular free agent, which may change the often cost-conscious White Sox outlook on the matter.
It’s an option, and though the last few Cuban players to make the jump to the Major Leagues have not landed with the White Sox, the organization has shown in the past that it values talent coming from the Caribbean island.
Diaz’s countryman, outfielder Dariel Alvarez, who has been playing in the Mexican League since October will also be showcasing with Diaz. The two have both established residency in Canada in preparation of playing big league ball.