9:22pm: Michael Natelli of CallToThePen.com tweets that he spoke to Norberto and was told that the deal is official.
12:06pm: Outfielder Dayan Viciedo and left-handed reliever Jordan Norberto are nearing contracts with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, according to a report from Japanese media outlet Sankei Sports (h/t: NPB Tracker’s Patrick Newman, on Twitter). As Newman notes, signing Viciedo would mean that the Dragons will not retain former big league infielder Hector Luna, who has spent the past three seasons with the team.
Viciedo, who will turn 27 in March, did not play in the Majors in 2015 after being released by the White Sox last winter. He spent Spring Training with the Blue Jays after signing a minor league pact but did not make the team, leading to another release, after which he signed a minor league deal with the Athletics.
Viciedo split the 2015 season between the Triple-A affiliates for the A’s and the White Sox, who re-signed him on a minor league deal after Oakland cut him loose after 30 games. In 66 total contests at the Triple-A level last season, Viciedo hit .287/.348/.450. Of course, he also has extensive Major League experience as well, having served as a corner outfielder and DH for the White Sox for the better part of five years from 2010-14. Viciedo came to the Sox on a four-year, $10MM deal after defecting from Cuba but never lived up to the lofty expectations many carried for him, as he batted .254/.298/.424 in 483 Major League games.
Norberto, 29 in two weeks, hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2012 and has been largely out of action for the past three seasons due to shoulder injuries, Tommy John surgery and a 50-game suspension due to his ties to the Biogenesis scandal in 2013. He did log 45 1/3 innings for the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate this past season, posting a 4.96 ERA with 40 strikeouts against a troublesome 30 walks. Norberto was a key member of the Oakland bullpen back in 2012 when he pitched 52 innings of 2.77 ERA ball.
Luna, meanwhile, has spent the past three seasons with the Dragons, but saw his production decline in his most recent campaign with Chunichi. The former big league second baseman has been primarily a corner player for the Dragons and holds a career .316/.382/.466 line in NPB (all with Chunichi), though he didn’t hit for much power in 2015 when he batted .292/.367/.397.