Yankees rumors: New York seen as favorites to land Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

After holding a private showcase for Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz on Friday, the Yankees are considered to be the front runners to land the infielder. A decision on where Diaz will play in 2014 could come on Monday. Other teams in the mix for the shortstop include the Cardinals, Giants, Blue Jays, Braves, Phillies, and Mariners.

The Yankees have a clear need for infield depth with upside like Diaz presents. Derek Jeter is expected to man shortstop as long as he is healthy, but his impending retirement at the end of 2014 would open up the position for Diaz moving forward. With Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson currently expected to be every day players at second and third base, respectively, adding a player with an exciting bat that can be obtained for only money is the kind of risk the Yankees should be taking. If the worst case scenario is that Diaz needs to play second base instead of shortstop in the future, that's not so bad at all.

It's possible that the deal Diaz will command will be too great of a risk for the Steinbrenners to take after already committing so much money to the unproven Masahiro Tanaka. The team blew past their goal of a $189 million payroll already but ultimately decided to stop their spending there, having already committed half a billion dollars to Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Tanaka. Pieces were brought in to get the Yankees back to a position of being a World Series contender, but the infield is full of holes and serious question marks. Diaz may not be the answer, just as the unsigned Stephen Drew wouldn't necessarily be the answer, but the reward could be great. That's what the Yankees should be trying to find at this late stage of the offseason.

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