The Cardinals announced that they’ve optioned shortstop Aledmys Diaz to Triple-A Memphis and selected the contract of infielder Alex Mejia in a corresponding roster move. (Jen Langosch of MLB.com first reported the news, on Twitter). The move to option Diaz, who sandwiched a productive month of May between an ugly June and an uglier April, comes just about a month after St. Louis also optioned the struggling Randal Grichuk.
St. Louis has also released veteran infielder Jhonny Peralta over the past month, a move that was accompanied by a “no one is safe” message from general manager John Mozeliak, whose front office is clearly tired of the team’s lackluster play as of late. Diaz is hitting .260/.293/.396 on the season as a whole, but he’s collected just six hits in his past 30 plate appearances and hasn’t graded out well at shortstop, from a defensive standpoint (-9 Defensive Runs Saved, 0 Ultimate Zone Rating). More troubling, perhaps, is the fact that Diaz’s walk rate has been cut in half, while his chase rate on pitches outside the zone has soared by 10 percent (from 28.2 percent in ’16 to 38.6 percent in ’17).
The 26-year-old Diaz was a surprise breakout star last season — just months after being designated for assignment and being passed over by every other team in the league when he was on waivers. Injuries created an opportunity for Diaz last year, and he responded with a .300/.369/.510 batting line with 17 homers. The optional assignment for Grichuk earlier this year was similar to a surprising option of Kolten Wong a year prior in that both were relatively brief in nature.
Mejia, also 26, is a former fourth-round pick of the Cardinals (2012) that hasn’t hit much in the minors, but Baseball America rated him as the best defensive shortstop in the Double-A Texas League back in 2014. He’s batting .253/.309/.355 with three homers, 18 doubles and a steal through 293 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A this year.