Dan Duquette: Orioles High On Yusniel Diaz, Deemed Him ‘Key’ To Manny Machado Trade
Yusniel Diaz
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles forged ahead with what was becoming an increasing likelihood by trading All-Star shortstop Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Orioles received five prospects in return, with Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz representing the centerpiece.

Diaz received a $15.5 million signing bonus when he joined the Dodgers during the 2015-16 international signing period. He’d since gone on to become one of the organization’s highly-rated prospects.

Heading into the regular season, Diaz was ranked the Dodgers’ sixth-best prospect by Baseball America. MLB Pipeline rated Diaz as the No. 4 prospect in the Dodgers farm system at the time of the trade.

He immediately vaulted to the top of the Orioles’ prospect rankings. That Baltimore acquired Diaz as part of the trade is not only a boon to their farm system but also appears to have been a necessity.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette specifically mentioned Diaz as an integral component to moving ahead with the trade, per Roch Kubatko of MASN:

“We liked the depth of the Dodger package, we liked the quality of players in the package and we like Yusniel Diaz. The Dodgers invested a significant amount of money to sign Yusniel out of Cuba at a young age. They also paid a premium in terms of a tax within the structure of the industry and we haven’t had access to those players and this was an opportunity to access a player that we feel is a gifted hitter.

“We felt he was clearly the best player offered to us during this market and he was the key to the trade. But the other players in the trade also are very talented. The Dodgers have done an excellent job in terms of the depth and the quality of their farm system through the draft and international recruiting and we just like the talent that the Dodgers offered ahead of the other offers that we had.”

For as much traction and progress as the Dodgers and Orioles made toward completing a deal, there was some concern Wednesday when a review of the medicals on Dodgers prospects raised some red flags. The issues were not said to have lied with Diaz, however.

He hit .314/.428/.477 with 10 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 30 RBI over 59 games with Double-A Tulsa this season. Diaz recently participated in the Futures Game, where he hit a pair of home runs.

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