Dayan Viciedo Rumors
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.
White Sox GM Ken Williams was asked about 28-year-old Cuban center fielder Yasser Gomez at SoxFest today. Are the White Sox interested? Williams said, "I don't think he is a get. It might be counterproductive [for Gomez's agent Jaime Torres] to deal with just one team." On the other hand, Mark Gonzales says Williams "tried to dance around" a question about Gomez by saying, "We're looking at a lot of players."
Gomez, a speedy outfielder and career .331 hitter in Cuba, hit .397 over a 66-game span in Cuba's 2008 national series tournament. In a video earlier this month from Newsday, the Cuban defector expanded on his Major League dreams.
FRIDAY, 12-12-08: The Viciedo signing is official. The 19 year-old third baseman get a four-year, $10MM deal.
THURSDAY: According to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the White Sox reached an agreement with 19 year-old Cuban third baseman Dayan Viciedo on a big league deal worth about $11MM. Alexei Ramirez and Jose Contreras should help Viciedo get comfortable when he joins the big league team. In June, it was reported that 14 teams expressed interest in Viciedo.
Stray links I've collected over the past few days...
- John Manuel and Jonathan Mayo get us ready for the Rule 5 draft. Manuel has a second post on it here.
- Sarah Green looks at A.J. Burnett's possible commutes.
- LEN3 suggests the Twins might be part of Adrian Beltre's limited no-trade clause.
- K-Rod signing analysis from Dave Cameron, Jesse Spector, and Keith Law. Also check out the usual solid analysis over at Ken Davidoff's blog.
- Law also takes on the Edwin Jackson, Ramon Hernandez, J.J. Putz, and C.C. Sabathia moves.
- The Red Sox are likely to non-tender Kevin Cash. Josh Bard is one free agent on their radar. Also, Tony Massarotti learned that the Red Sox are strongly opposed to opt-out clauses.
- UmpBump found some C.C. Sabathia rumors we missed on Monday. Also, the Brewers' offer to C.C. had unique clauses and two club options.
- The Dodgers knew Jason Schmidt had a partial rotator cuff tear when they signed him.
- Rany Jazayerli on recent Royals rumors, reliever and otherwise.
- Bruce Miles says the Cubs have some interest in bringing Paul Bako back.
- Jason Davis, Raul Chavez, and R.A. Dickey became free agents. Davis may be headed to Japan.
- Nick Piecoro says Junior Spivey is looking for a job.
- Much of the money saved from recent White Sox trades was repurposed for Dayan Viciedo.
Links for Monday...
- The Cardinals still don't have a deal with Trever Miller.
- Is a multiyear deal coming soon for Jamie Moyer? Ken Mandel's source says it's been delayed only because of scheduling conflicts.
- The D'Backs released infielder Jamie D'Antona, who is headed to Japan.
- J.P. Ricciardi says trading Roy Halladay hasn't even crossed his mind. Dan Graziano wrote last Wednesday that some continued to insist the Jays would explore trading their ace.
- River Ave. Blues considers Ben Sheets a better investment than A.J. Burnett for the Yankees.
- Jim Allen profiled the five Japanese players who plan to come over to MLB. He's not high on Junichi Tazawa, Ken Takahashi, or Ryoji Aikawa.
- I never mentioned this, but the Braves released Rodrigo Lopez earlier this month (thanks to Jeff at Cot's for the link).
- Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune talked to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen about various hot stove issues.
- Murray Chass talked to Tom Glavine about his future. Chass' blog is an oddity - a veteran journalist writing and researching newspaper-style articles for his personal site.
- Joel Sherman believes the Angels are the Yankees' biggest threat for C.C. Sabathia. Ken Davidoff agrees.
- In another article, Davidoff summarizes the situations of the ten big-name players.
- Ken Rosenthal talked to an agent who says the market is moving slowly right now.
- Viva El Birdos assesses the trade value of Ryan Ludwick.
- South Side Sox offers more thoughts on Dayan Viciedo.
A note from Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
I've been told it’s highly doubtful the Twins will sign a Type A free agent, which would cost them their first-round draft pick next June, though they have checked into some of the Type A relievers and are in a “Never say never” mode.
The Twins own the #23 pick in next year's draft. Players such as Orlando Cabrera, Doug Brocail, Juan Cruz, Darren Oliver, and Russ Springer would presumably cost them that pick.
Christensen also notes that the Twins had strong interest in Jeremy Affeldt and scouted Dayan Viciedo.