If not for an injury, SF Giants fans would have seen former top Miami Marlins prospect Isan Díaz at some point in 2022. However, he will appear with San Francisco in 2023 as his contract was selected by the Giants on Wednesday according to the team's transaction page.
SF Giants select the contract of former top infield prospect
Díaz was originally drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Springfield High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. If you grew up in the 1990's like me, then you are probably wondering if this is the same Springfield where the Simspons live. However, that Springfield is actually in Oregon.
For years, the middle infielder was considered one of the better prospects in baseball, ranking as high as No. 59 according to Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2017 season. He was not only well regarded but he was highly coveted as well as he was involved in two trades involving All-Star players.
The most notable was the Christian Yelich trade in which he was shipped by the Brewers along with Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, and Jordan Yamamoto to the Marlins in exchange for the All-Star outfielder.
At the time, Miami thought they had collected at least a couple of players who would help them in the future. However, that deal failed spectacularly as all four prospects struggled during their time with the Marlins.
By the way, if you were paying attention to the Giants in September then the name Brinson might sound familiar as he was shipped to the Giants from the Houston Astros in exchange for cash. Brinson had a memorable series against the Los Angeles Dodgers where he blasted three home runs, but he slumped badly after that and was eventually designated for assignment.
Díaz was the last player from the Yelich trade to depart the Marlins. The 26-year-old went unclaimed on waivers at the start of the 2022 season and then eventually traded to San Francisco for cash when he struggled to find playing time for Miami's Triple-A affiliate.
The left-handed bat put together a solid season with Sacramento, slashing .275/.377/.574 (131 wRC+) with 23 home runs, 65 RBI, and 60 runs in 332 plate appearances. This includes a very strong 13.0 percent walk rate against a 24.7 percent strikeout rate.
At one point in the year, Díaz was nearing a promotion. He was on the taxi squad but his name never got called and then he finished the year on the injured list.
The former top prospect carries some roster flexibility as he has one minor league option remaining. He will join Jason Vosler as two of the top infield depth options who hit from the left side on the 40-man roster.
I did not think of this when the Díaz move was made, but this almost certainly spells the end of Tommy La Stella's tenure in a Giants uniform. The veteran infielder has one year remaining on the three-year, $18.75 million pact he signed before the 2021 season.
However, he has struggled badly in a Giants uniform and they are at a point where they need to find better value elsewhere. The addition of Díaz along with Vosler give the Giants a pair of left-handed-hitting infielders, which is the role that La Stella was expected to fill. He has not and appears to be redundant on the 40-man roster at this point.