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Dayan Viciedo Rumors
The White Sox have requested unconditional release waivers for outfielder Dayan Viciedo, the club announced. Viciedo had been designated for assignment, so this move primarily indicates that he will not bring Chicago any return via trade.
Unless he is claimed, Viciedo will enter the free agent market still shy of his 26th birthday and already having claimed 66 MLB home runs. Of course, in spite of that impressive power, he has failed to reach base at a reasonable clip (.298 career OBP) and is generally rated a sub-par defender.
Viciedo’s $4.4MM arbitration salary for 2015 surely provides a significant disincentive to otherwise interested clubs, and makes a claim unlikely. Chicago will remain responsible for about $733K of that sum.
This is surely not the end that either side hoped for when Viciedo signed out of Cuba as an international free agent, receiving a big league contract and $10MM guarantee. Another team will presumably take a shot on Viciedo, who comes with two more years of commitment-free control through arbitration and figures to be available for a minimal financial outlay.
It is prospect season yet again, with various evaluators releasing their latest breakdowns of the brightest young players in the game. Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs are working through the systems on a team-by-team basis for the time being, while MLB.com is going position-by-position at present. ESPN.com’s Keith Law (subscription links) has now filed a new top-100 list as well as organization rankings. Kris Bryant and his club, the Cubs, rank atop Law’s respective boards.
- The Phillies should take a flier on Dayan Viciedo, argues CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman. While there are some barriers to such a move, and reasons against it, Seidman says that there is enough upside left in the 25-year-old that Philadelphia ought to roll the dice.
- In another update on Yoan Moncada and the general situation of Cuban ballplayers, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports that the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) does still issue the “specific licenses” that MLB has required Cubans to obtain before they are cleared to sign. Since it appears that such players would already be able to sign pursuant to a “general license” (more on that here), Badler suggests that MLB-related requests may be receiving a lower priority that extends the delay.
- Free agent reliever Todd Coffey has interest from five or six club and may be nearing a deal, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The 34-year-old has not seen big league action since 2012, but put up intriguing numbers last year at Triple-A in the Mariners organization.
The White Sox rank at the very top of the list of offseason winners compiled by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. GM Rick Hahn ticked through many of the team’s questions this winter and should have a competitive team to show for it, says Heyman. Of course, despite plenty of praise, there are still some non-believers out there. They can point to this year’s PECOTA projections from Baseball Prospectus, which see Chicago as a 78-win team. Also of note from PECOTA, which is rather down on the division on the whole: the Tigers are tabbed as a .500 club, while the Royals project to win just 72 wins after appearing in the World Series last year.
More from the south side and the AL Central:
- The White Sox are a much improved team heading into the 2015 season, but much of the optimism surrounding the club relies on the contributions of right fielder Avisail Garcia, writes Fangraphs’ Neil Weinberg. Perception appears to be that Garcia can handily outperform the just-designated Dayan Viciedo, but Weinberg cautions that we shouldn’t readily accept that as fact. Garcia’s stats to date tell a similar tale to that of Viciedo — modest on-base percentage with some power and below-average base-running and defensive skills. While Garcia’s track record is clearly smaller, the two are excellent statistical comps even when looking at their production through the age of 23. Weinberg notes that scouts have long questioned whether or not Garcia would be able to resist bad pitches and make enough contact to succeed, and the assumption that he will outperform Viciedo is based largely on perceived ceiling as opposed to likely outcomes.
- Newly-designated White Sox slugger Dayan Viciedo should generate plenty of interest, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes. The American League West offers the best matches, Morosi argues, with the Mariners, Athletics, and Rangers all potentially making sense as landing spots.
- Despite some apparent suggestions, the Twins are not interested in free agent second baseman Rickie Weeks, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets. That is not terribly surprising, given that the right-handed-hitting Weeks does not play short and would presumably have needed to serve as a backup to two right-handed hitters in Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe.
- Ichiro Suzuki‘s representatives (who he shares with Twins skipper Paul Molitor) tried to generate interest in the veteran from Minnesota, but the club never saw a fit, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. As Berardino explains, Ichiro and Molitor — both incredible pure hitters — share an interesting relationship.
The White Sox announced that they have signed infielder Gordon Beckham to a one-year, $2MM contract and designated outfielder Dayan Viciedo for assignment in order to clear a space on the 40-man roster. Earlier today, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweeted that a reunion between the Sox and Beckham was a possibility.
Chicago is of course more familiar with Beckham than any other club, having formerly drafted him eighth overall and watched him on their big league roster from 2009 through this past August, when he was traded to the Angels. Beckham never lived up to a strong rookie season and batted a fairly pedestrian .241/.300/.361 from 2010-14. However, the Sox were known to be looking for a utility infielder that can handle left-handed pitching, and Beckham will presumably fill that role with the team.
The White Sox and Viciedo had already agreed to a one-year, $4.4MM contract to avoid arbitration, however that salary is not fully guaranteed. This situation is the same in which Emilio Bonifacio found himself with the Royals last winter, when he was designated after agreeing to a salary. (Coincidentally, Bonifacio had a solid season and signed a $4MM contract to join the White Sox this offseason.) The White Sox are able to cut Viciedo for roughly one sixth of his agreed upon salary at this point, meaning they’ll be on the hook for roughly $733K of that $4.4MM sum, should he ultimately be released. Of course, a team could claim the entirety of Viciedo’s $4.4MM salary on waivers (which seems unlikely) or trade for him, with Chicago kicking in some cash as well.
Viciedo, 26 in March, has never provided much in the way of defensive value and saw his offense slip to a .231/.281/.405 triple-slash in 2014 — his worst full season of production to date. I was a bit surprised to see that the team tendered him a contract, but the Sox likely did so with the intent of flipping him to a club that was still enticed by his right-handed power. However, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets, the Sox tried unsuccessfully to trade Viciedo all offseason. Now, with Melky Cabrera in the fold in left field, Avisail Garcia expected to man right field and Jose Abreu/Adam LaRoche sharing time at first base and DH, there wasn’t a good fit on the roster for Viciedo.
Beckham will join Bonifacio as an option at second base, though he’s also capable of serving as a platoon partner for Conor Gillaspie at third base, shielding Gillaspie from his weakness against southpaws. Should Beckham finally tap into the potential that made him the eighth pick in the 2008 draft, he’d be able to fill in at second base on an everyday basis, with Bonifacio shifting into the role of a super utility player.
The White Sox have avoided arbitration with Dayan Viciedo by agreeing to a one-year, $4.4MM pact, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin tweets. That represents an exact match to the projection of MLBTR and Matt Swartz, with Viciedo’s sturdy home run tallies serving to boost his arb value.
Viciedo, 25, has seen regular playing time for Chicago over the last three years. Last season represented his low-water mark in terms of offensive production, as he dropped from an approximately league-average overall output to a .231/.281/.405 slash that left him with a 92 OPS+. Of course, Viciedo delivered a familiar blend of power, strikeouts, and on-base struggles, and should at least return to being a generally average bat if his BABIP (.261) rebounds.
That being said, Viciedo’s overall value has been held down significantly by rough defensive work. Playing mostly in the corner outfield, Viciedo has consistently registered negative scores in the view of UZR (-7.9 UZR/150 for his career) as well as DRS (-19 lifetime runs saved). And as with the offensive side of the equation, last year saw a notable downturn.
In the aggregate, then, Viciedo landed well below replacement level last year. On the positive side, he is just 25 and possesses undeniable power that plays at the MLB level. It remains to be seen what role Viciedo will play on a rebuilt White Sox roster, and he could still be traded, but it is apparent that Chicago is loath to give up on him.
It’s been a little over two years since the Marlins and Blue Jays completed the mega-trade that sent $163.75MM in major league veterans north of the border for a bundle of prospect joy. The Marlins were roasted for the decision at the time, but it’s looking wiser by the day, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Not only did the move clear much needed payroll (since used on Giancarlo Stanton), it also accounts for a lot of the top talent in the organization. In addition to Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Justin Nicolino, the Fish netted seven more players using pieces traced to the original trade with the Jays.
- Brewers prospect Devin Williams is now represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Williams was the Brewers second round pick in 2013, and Heyman adds he’s one of Milwaukee’s top 10 prospects. Williams, 19, pitched to a 4.48 ERA with 8.95 K/9 and 2.71 BB/9 in the rookie level Pioneer League.
- The White Sox are still looking into trading outfielder Dayan Viciedo, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Needs include bullpen and bench depth.
- The ongoing Max Scherzer saga could greatly affect the Tigers in 2015, writes Jason Beck of MLB.com. Per Beck, the Tigers are likely to let Scherzer walk if another club shows heavy interest. If he continues to float on the market as he is now, there will be increasing pressure to bring him back. Owner Mike Illich is known for his penchant to reward players who have performed well in Detroit.
- Left field is an obvious hole for the Rangers, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. The internal candidates are Michael Choice, Ryan Rua, and Jake Smolinski, but don’t be surprised if additional depth is added. The club is also expected to add a catcher to compete with Robinson Chirinos.
- Shortstop continues to be a glaring flaw on the Mets roster, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Last year, the club was unsuccessful upgrading over Ruben Tejada. This time, Wilmer Flores is the guy on the hot seat, with Tejada still in the picture too. My own take: unless the Mets can pinch Troy Tulowitzki, they’ll enter the season with Flores and Tejada. In the grand scheme of major league shortstops, neither projects to be terrible. Meanwhile, if they wanted Stephen Drew, they’ve had plenty of opportunities to acquire him over the last 14 months.
Melky Cabrera didn’t receive any four-year offers, so he chose to play in his preferred Eastern half of the country and sign a three-year pact with the White Sox, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN.com (link in Spanish). Cabrera became the latest splashy acquisition for the White Sox late last night joining Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Adam LaRoche, and Zach Duke in an effort to bring the club from 73 wins in 2014 to contention in 2015.
Here’s more on the White Sox and the rest of the AL Central Division:
- The White Sox‘s acquisition of Cabrera could pay off for Jose Abreu, writes JJ Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com.
- The White Sox are sure to trade Dayan Viciedo after signing Cabrera and Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter) wonders if the Mariners could be a possibility. The Mariners were interested in signing Cabrera, but lost out when the White Sox offered $42MM over three years.
- Tigers assistant GM Al Avila told Jim Duquette of SiriusXM (via Twitter) the club has had “no conversations” with Max Scherzer‘s camp. Last week, an industry source told MLB.com’s Jason Beck even though Scott Boras has openly said the Tigers won’t receive a chance to match an opposing team’s final offer for the hurler, Boras will, in fact, give owner Mike Ilitch a chance to match “at least as a professional courtesy.”
- The Tigers have long coveted Yoenis Cespedes and would have made a stronger bid for him in 2012 had Victor Martinez not suffered a season-ending knee injury in January of that year, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.
- Tigers President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski says right-hander Alex Wilson, acquired from the Red Sox along with Cespedes, is not just a throw-in but will compete for a bullpen spot in Spring Training, reports Fenech in a second article.
Here’s the latest on the Mariners heading out of the Winter Meetings, courtesy of Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune:
- The Mariners and Melky Cabrera seem to have staked out their positions, with Cabrera after five years and upwards of $60MM and the M’s not willing to go past three and around $42MM.
- Seattle is increasingly looking at other possibilities, though the idea of a Dayan Viciedo trade was downplayed by Dutton’s sources. The team does have interest in Alex Rios, though he seems to be waiting out other market moves.
- The M’s still have interest in Justin Upton, but do not want to meet the Braves’ asking price. Meanwhile, the team is “cool” at present to the idea of dealing for Ian Desmond.
- One alternative trade candidate is Seth Smith of the Padres, though Dutton notes that he would not be optimal since he swings from the left side.
The White Sox and Mariners are engaged in “serious talks” about a deal involving outfielder/third baseman Dayan Viciedo, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reports on Twitter. Chicago is looking to receive a bullpen arm in return.
Viciedo is still only 25 years old and has established himself as a twenty-plus home run power bat. But his on-base and defensive abilities have lagged, and he has actually been a sub-replacement-level overall player (by measure of fWAR) over the last two seasons. At a $4.4MM projected arbitration salary, per MLBTR/Matt Swartz, Viciedo could be headed towards a non-tender next year if he cannot turn things around.
The Mariners’ recent attempts to find an outfielder (a position where they’re thin, especially after trading Michael Saunders to Toronto) have, at least so far, come up short. They’ve reportedly bowed out on Matt Kemp, and Dutton writes that their negotiations with Melky Cabrera have reached an impasse. The Mariners also reportedly spoke to the White Sox about a Viciedo trade last July.
Viciedo, 25, is a right-handed hitter with good power, with 21 home runs last season. But he hit just .231/.281/.405 in 563 plate appearances in 2014, and he’s also a weak defender in either outfield corner. The Mariners would likely be hoping for improvement if they acquired him. He’s projected to make $4.4MM through the arbitration process next year, and he has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining after that.