Dayan Viciedo Rumors
Lest we forget, there are still eight million more native Spanish-speakers in the world than English-speakers...
- Dayan Viciedo is "well-viewed" within the White Sox organization and will fight it out with Brent Morel for the starting third base job this spring, a source from Chicago told Luis Rangel at Miami-based El Nuevo Herald. The source said Viciedo is working daily with third base coach Joey Cora to improve his mobility and fielding at the hot corner, though his appeal to the organization remains primarily through offense, as evidenced by a .308/.321/.519 line in 106 PAs last summer. Kenny Williams indicated in August that the 21-year-old Cuban prospect was untouchable, though rumors of his availability have revived recently.
- The Dodgers signed Vicente Padilla to do a little of everything, but if he becomes a full-time starter, the deal he signed last week could end up looking a lot different. Gerald Hernandez at the Nicaraguan paper La Prensa detailed Padilla's contract, which stipulates that if he matches his career high of 33 starts, his $2MM salary will jump to $8MM. Against Padilla's favor: Each of the Dodgers' front five started at least 30 games in 2010.
- Reliever Elmer Dessens hasn't received an offer to re-sign with the Mets, a source close to the pitcher told Fernando Ballesteros at the Mexican blog Puro Beisbol. The source added that Dessens, who will turn 40 in early January, is currently in negotiations with one team from each league. He posted a 2.30 ERA for the Mets in 47 innings last season while both walking and striking out 3.06 per nine, and he has said he is only interested in a guaranteed major league deal.
SATURDAY,1:40pm: White Sox GM Kenny Williams is hoping for a "Carlos Lee-type return" in a deal for Quentin, a scout confirmed to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter). The White Sox sent Lee to Milwaukee following the 2004 season for Scott Podsednik, Luis Vizcaino, and a player to be named later (Travis Hinton).
10:17am: Kenny Williams shot down the Quentin trade talk, telling Dave van Dyck of The Chicago Tribune that it's untrue (Twitter links). Williams added that he will not move a piece of his everyday lineup for bullpen help.
FRIDAY, 7:04pm: The White Sox are "actively looking" to move Carlos Quentin for a package that includes at least one reliever, tweets Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sox "are asking a lot so far," according to Cowley's sources, so it's possible they may just be gauging the market at this point, though we know at least one team (Philadelphia) has shown interest in Quentin.
Since his breakout 2008 campaign (a .965 OPS and a fifth-place finish in MVP voting), Quentin has battled injuries and posted a .240/.334/.469 line over the past two seasons. The outfielder is headed into his second arbitration year; he and the Sox avoided the process last season by agreeing on a $3.2MM contract.
Quentin's name came up in trade rumors for Adam Dunn over the summer and more recently for Colby Rasmus. Quentin's terrible outfield glove (a -32.7 UZR/150 in right field last year and a -25.2 UZR/150 as a left fielder in 2009) may leave him with no alternate spot in the White Sox lineup now that Dunn and Paul Konerko are firmly entrenched at the first base and DH spots. We know the Sox are looking for bullpen help, so they may feel that need and Quentin's poor defense outweighs what he might provide at the plate.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe breaks down the 2010 Red Sox and what members of the team may not be around for 2011. He says Jayson Werth will be a free agent target and wonders if they're willing to commit three or four years to Adrian Beltre, who is having a monster season. Jacoby Ellsbury and Daisuke Matsuzaka could be trade bait, and then there's the issue of David Ortiz's $12.5MM option.
Let's round up the rest of Cafardo's rumors...
- There have been "minimal, if any" talks between the Sox and Victor Martinez about a new contract.
- Expect Boston to revamp their bullpen, which could mean replacing Hideki Okajima.
- Carfado believes that the Rangers settled ownership situation will help the team down the stretch as the players don't have to deal with any speculation.
- Rafael Soriano and Joaquin Benoit, a pair of offseason pickups that are the Rays' two best relievers, will need to have their workloads monitored down the stretch, particularly Benoit who is coming off major shoulder surgery.
- The Angels have close to $110MM tied up in 2011 payroll counting arbitration raises, which could hinder their pursuit of free agents this winter.
- Kenny Williams says that teams never asked for Dayan Viciedo in a trade because they knew he was unavailable. We heard that Williams was willing to trade him before the deadline.
- A split between the Mariners and manager Don Wakamatsu seems likely this offseason.
The latest on Adam Dunn, with more updates to come throughout the day...
- The Nats are believed to have requested either Gordon Beckham or both Daniel Hudson and Dayan Viciedo in exchange for Dunn, tweets Heyman. That price was too high for the Sox, who told Beckham he wouldn't be on the move this week.
- The price for Dunn is high, but not ridiculous, according to Heyman (via Twitter). The White Sox and Rays are still involved.
- The Giants have minimal interest in Dunn at his current price, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Morosi notes that the Tigers are not pursuing Dunn.
- The White Sox and Tigers have plenty of interest in Dunn, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
- Three-way scenarios involving the Nationals, White Sox, Diamondbacks and Edwin Jackson are in play, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). Rosenthal reported that such talks were underway earlier in the week.
- The Rays are the favorites to acquire Dunn, according to one executive who spoke to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Giants are the only other team Sherman hears in connection to Dunn (Twitter links).
- The Tigers are not pursuing Dunn, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- The White Sox are saying internally that they're out of the Dunn sweepstakes, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Yankees are now out on Dunn. Joel Sherman of the New York Post explains that the Yankees would give up top prospects for a piece they need, but not for a luxury like Dunn. The Yanks lead the majors in scoring, so Dunn's bat is not an absolute necessity for the Bronx Bombers.
MONDAY, 11:15pm: White Sox GM Kenny Williams has been trying “desperately” to acquire Adam Dunn from the Nationals, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley’s source says the White Sox don’t want to move Carlos Quentin or Gordon Beckham to acquire Dunn, but would move any minor leaguer, and would trade Dayan Viciedo or Daniel Hudson. But Williams still finds that Nats GM Mike Rizzo is asking a lot, according to Cowley’s source.
Though the White Sox appear to have interest in Dunn, Williams said that he isn’t optimistic about completing deals this summer.
"If I'm being honest and completely transparent right now of the price that is being asked for some of the players that we've inquired about, for us, it's more detrimental to our present and our future than we'd like,” Williams said.
The White Sox could definitely use an upgrade at DH, but as Williams pointed out, the team could still add a player in August. The White Sox acquired Alex Rios from the Blue Jays in an August 2009 waiver claim.
White Sox director of player development Buddy Bell recently told reporters he envisions the first few years of Cuban prospect Dayan Viciedo's career panning out like those of another former defector fresh off of a breakout season, Angels first baseman Kendry Morales. Viciedo may be taking the comparison to heart, as not only has he been taking grounders at first during spring training, he has also changed agents from Jaime Torres to Scott Boras, writes ESPN's Jorge Arangure, Jr.
If Viciedo switched permanently from third to first, he would immediately become the team's top prospect at the position just as Paul Konerko enters the final season of his five-year, $60MM post-World Series contract. The question is whether the move is more than just a preseason experiment. Arangure passes along an unenthusiastic quote from the player through his translator: "My position is third base. But I'll play wherever they tell me." Viciedo seemed more upbeat when he spoke in Spanish with the Nuevo Herald's Luis Rangel:
"Although I haven't played much in that position, I'd feel fine if the change eventually materialized. I don't think I'll have problems. If they ultimately ask me to play as a starter, I'll do it."
Viciedo has yet to see Triple A action for the White Sox, and his .280/.317/.391 line at Double A Birmingham last season wasn't first base heir-apparent material. A .313/.350/.464 second half looked more promising, though still well below the power numbers Morales showed at all levels of the Angels system. And though Viciedo's defense at third base didn't garner rave reviews, trainer Jesus Gallo tells Aragure that his off-season work was geared specifically toward slimming down the bulky prospect and making him lighter on his feet in preparation of a move to first.
While Viciedo isn't the first Cuban player this offseason to jettison the agent who worked with him from defection through signing, his choice of Boras may ultimately send a more powerful message to other prospects than, say, Aroldis Chapman's switch to Hendricks Sports Management or Morales' move from Hendricks to Boras. Viciedo, according to some Cuban baseball experts, wasn't viewed on the island as a top-level talent like Chapman, and the $10MM contract he signed in 2008 caused many other Cuban players to seriously ponder their potential value for the first time.
Get out the Spanish-English dictionary and put on Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
- Morgan Campbell at the Toronto Star posits that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos' recent scouting trip to the Dominican Republic could mean the team is "closing in" on Jose Julio Ruiz. Yesterday, Ruiz's trainer told the Nuevo Herald that the first baseman's most recent tryout, his "last before signing," was against Blue Jays players. The blog cubanballplayers.com also reported on Tuesday that Ruiz had a private tryout with the Jays. Both the team and Prestige Sports Agency, which represents Ruiz, remain mum on any communication.
- Cuban first baseman/outfielder Leslie Anderson tells Angel Mazariego of the Mexican newspaper Sipse that he is willing to play in Mexico this season if nothing materializes for him in the majors. Anderson lists the Red Sox, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, Giants and Brewers as the teams he knows to have scouted him recently. Mazariego adds the Dodgers and Tigers to the list.
- Amaury Perez Torres at the Cuban baseball blog Las Avispas cites a "source close to" pitching prospect Juan Yasser Serrano saying that the right-hander has worked out for 10 major league teams this winter. Most recently, the source says, Serrano struck out four in a two-inning simulation for the Cubs on February 19, with a fastball that touched 93.
- If it seems like there is more chatter about Cuban defectors than ever before, that's no coincidence, writes Campbell in the Toronto Star. In a lengthy article, he outlines how more Cuban players are now aiming at the major leagues thanks to the success of Kendry Morales and Yunel Escobar, neither of whom was a starter in Cuba. Equally significant was the contract that third base prospect Dayan Viciedo signed with the White Sox in 2008. A Cuban baseball expert in Canada tells Campbell that Viciedo made players on the island think, "If he can get $10 million, then what am I worth?"
- Speaking of Morales, Jorge Arangure Jr. adds a new dimension to the first baseman's recent switch from Hendricks Sports Management to Scott Boras in an article in ESPN the Magazine. Rodney Fernandez, who recruited both Morales and Aroldis Chapman for Kendricks, is being investigated by the MLBPA and Florida police in regard to $300K that disappeared from Morales' bank account.
Jeff Passan covers a few items in this piece for Yahoo Sports, headlined by 19-year-old Cuban pitcher Noel Arguelles. The young left-hander impressed a number of agents and representatives from various teams at a workout last month in the Dominican Republic, and the four teams most interested in signing Arguelles are the Athletics, Mariners, Rays, and (who but?) the Yankees. Passan predicted that Argulles' deal will be worth somewhere around $8.2MM to $10MM, which match the contracts given to Jose Iglesias and Dayan Viciedo last year by the Red Sox and White Sox, respectively.
In other news from Passan's column...
- Passan says the Yankees are much more interested in Aroldis Chapman than they are in Arguelles, and that Chapman's recent agent switch to Randy and Alan Hendricks may help New York. Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens are/were both represented by the Hendricks brothers.
- The Royals are "going hard" to sign Erik Bedard to a short-term contract. Passan thinks Bedard will sign with someone for an "incentive-loaded one-year deal" in an effort to prove that he's healthy and worthy of a more lucrative longer-term deal for 2011.
- Detroit seem to be becoming more determined in their quest to trade pitcher Edwin Jackson. An unnamed executive is quoted as saying, "It’s like they want to give him away, and I don’t really understand why."
The White Sox have a new third baseman of the future, writes Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune. Dayan Viciedo held his own as a 20-year-old in AA this year (.708 OPS), but Brent Morel has passed him on Rogers' depth chart with a torrid stint in the Arizona Fall League. Here are the rest of Rogers' rumors:
- A's GM Billy Beane likes what he sees from pitching prospect Fautino de los Santos, who is hitting the mid-nineties as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
- Casey McGehee has emerged as a solid player, but the Brewers are reluctant to trade Mat Gamel, even if it would net them the starting pitching they covet.
- The Twins are talking to Orlando Cabrera about returning to play second base.
- Rogers says the Yankees are more likely to sign Johnny Damon than Hideki Matsui.
A few links for Wednesday night...
- Ian Browne of MLB.com writes that Junichi Tazawa could probably pitch in the majors now, it just wouldn't be ideal for the pitcher's development.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff breaks down the offseason's winners and losers.
- Lars Anderson wasn't disappointed when Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees, according to Howard Ulman of the AP (via the Boston Globe), but the Red Sox prospect says he wouldn't be doing anything differently if Tex were with Boston.
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that third base prospect Dayan Viciedo could very well end up in the outfield if the White Sox decide to let Jermaine Dye walk after 2009.
- Eric Seidman of FanGraphs tries to come up with the best way of evaluating winners and losers in trades.