ChiSox demoted slugger Viciedo marketable if ChiSox opt to deal
Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn shouldn’t have trouble developing a trade market for Dayan Viciedo — even if he limited himself to the American League West.
Viciedo, whom the White Sox designated for assignment Wednesday, would fit nicely with three clubs in the division. He possesses one of the most coveted attributes in the game: right-handed power. In fact, among players in their age-25 season or younger in 2014, he ranks sixth in the majors with 60 home runs over the past three years.
So, where could he fit?
Oakland: Viciedo hit 21 home runs in the majors last year. The five outfielders on Oakland’s 40-man roster — Billy Burns, Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, Craig Gentry and Josh Reddick — combined to hit 25. The A’s still don’t have an answer for how they’ll replace the power they lost with the departures of Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss.
Seattle: The Mariners have pursued Viciedo off and on for months, if not years. So, we know the interest is there. But Seattle doesn’t have the roster space for Viciedo that it once did, after adding Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano in outfield or designated hitter roles this winter. About the only way the Mariners can acquire Viciedo now is if they are comfortable marginalizing — or even trading — incumbent left fielder Dustin Ackley, which seems unlikely.
Texas: Even if Shin-Soo Choo returns from injury as his usual, productive self, the Rangers are short one reliable outfield bat. Choo and perhaps center fielder Leonys Martin are the only players with reasonably firm grips on everyday jobs in the outfield or at designated hitter, leaving plenty of room for Viciedo’s power. The Rangers have four right-handed-hitting outfielders on their 40-man roster, but none is proven over a full season in the major leagues: Michael Choice, Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua and Jake Smolinski.
True, Viciedo is a below-average defender at either corner-outfield position. But he’s relatively young — 26 in March — and signed to a reasonable contract (one year, $4.4 million). Viciedo has two more seasons of arbitration eligibility after 2015, so there’s the possibility of keeping him around for the long term at reasonable costs. Hahn has a very marketable player, as other general managers look to make their final roster adjustments before spring training.