The Red Sox have signed infielder Edwin Diaz to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per Melissa Lockard of The Athletic. It is unclear if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.
Diaz, 27, is not to be confused with the All-Star closer for the Mets. While they both hail from Puerto Rico, the Diaz the Red Sox are signing has yet to break in at the big-league level.
A native of Vega Alta, Diaz was originally selected by the Athletics in the 15th round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Ladislao Martinez High School. He made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona League that July and has since appeared in a total of 717 minor-league games across nine seasons.
After reaching free agency for the first time in his career at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign, Edwin signed a minors pact with the Astros during the lockout that December. The right-handed hitter missed the first two months of the 2022 season with an undisclosed injury. He then batted .168/.254/.376 with two doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 24 RBIs, 20 runs scored, two stolen bases, 17 walks, and 60 strikeouts in 44 games (169 plate appearances) with Double-A Corpus Christi before moving up to Triple-A Sugar Land in late August.
With the Space Cowboys, Diaz slashed .227/.277/.373 with five doubles, one triple, three homers, 17 runs driven in, 12 runs scored, eight walks, and 46 strikeouts over 30 games (120 plate appearances). All told, he is a lifetime .215/.296/.394 hitter in the minor-leagues. That includes a .217/.295/.405 line at Double-A and a .175/.242/.299 line at Triple-A.
On the other side of the ball, Diaz — who is described by Lockard as slick-fielding — has experience at every infield position besides pitcher and catcher. This past season, for instance, the versatile 6-foot-2, 223-pounder logged 18 innings at first base, 191 1/3 innings at second base, 104 innings at third base, and 276 1/3 innings at shortstop between Corpus Christi and Sugar Land.
Diaz, who turns 28 in August, should provide Boston with experienced infield depth regardless of where he starts the 2023 season (Portland or Worcester). If he receives an invite to big-league spring training, he would become the ninth player to get one thus far, joining the likes of Jorge Alfaro, Greg Allen, Narciso Crook, Niko Goodrum, Caleb Hamilton, Ronaldo Hernandez, Oddanier Mosqueda, and Norwith Gudino.
In the meantime, Diaz is coming off a solid offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League in which he batted .229/375/.418 with eight homers and 29 RBIs over 48 games (192 plate appearances) for the Criollos de Caguas (Alex Cora’s hometown team). Ramon Vazquez served as Diaz’s manager in Caguas before being named Red Sox bench coach back in November.
(Picture of Edwin Diaz: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)