The sensational story of Aledmys Diaz has hit a bit of a snag.
After bursting onto the scene in 2016, Diaz has endured the epitome of a sophomore slump this season. His .260/.293/.396 batting line pales in comparison to the .300/.369/.510 slash he compiled a season ago. Having only drawn 13 walks in 288 late appearances, Diaz has struggled finding a comfort zone at the plate that seemed to come so easily in his rookie campaign.
The Cuban shortstop, who once went unclaimed after being designated for assignment, then outrighted off the 40-man roster, has now been sent to the minors. The Cardinals announced in a press release Wednesday they have optioned Diaz to Class-AAA Memphis, and have purchased the contract of infielder Alex Mejia. St. Louis also moved Alex Reyes to the 60-day DL.
This marks a drastic fall for Diaz, a National League All-Star selection in 2016. Diaz's defense at shortstop has never been a strong suit of his game, so with his struggles at the plate this season, the Cardinals could no longer justify regular playing time for him. Paul DeJong has garnered more consideration at shortstop in recent days.
Diaz will head to Memphis with a chance to work through some of the kinks in his swing. Ideally, he will find a way to regain his approach from last season, which allowed him to pair a .369 OBP with 17 home runs and perform as a central figure in the Cardinal lineup.
Mejia, 26, was a 4th-round draft pick by the Cardinals in 2012. He will get his first chance at big-league action after spending this season between Springfield (AA) and Memphis. Between the two stops, Mejia has hit a combined .253 with three home runs and 27 RBIs in 74 games. He will likely serve a bench role as the Cardinals audition DeJong for an extended time at shortstop going forward, with Greg Garcia also serving as an option for playing time in the middle infield.