The recently-released Dayan Viciedo might soon find a home for the upcoming season. According to FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal, the former White Sox has received some interest from the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as the Oakland Athletics.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 27, 2015
The soon-to-be 26-year old had also reportedly received mild—and currently fading—interest from the Cincinnati Reds, as well as the Cleveland Indians so far this offseason—should he be willing to take a minor league deal:
Dayan Viciedo still on the open market and Indians are still interested, but only if he takes minor league deal.
— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) February 25, 2015
Viciedo was the odd man out this offseason following the White Sox signing of left fielder Melky Cabrera and was placed on unconditional release waivers near earlier this month. The native Cuban still has a large amount of team control tied to him, accruing only 3.123 years of MLB Service time thus far in his career—meaning he would be under team control through 2017 with whatever team he chooses to sign with.
Clearly, Viciedo’s remaining service time only raises his value, as a team might be more willing to take sign him on a one year deal. Such deal would have little negative outcomes for the teams—with the exception of the negative outcome of possible poor play. Should Viciedo thrive, a one year deal would allow a team to take him through the arbitration process twice. On the other side of the coin, should Viciedo flounder any possible team could simply cut ties and not re-sign him following this season.
Although the free agent outfielder has not posted a season with a positive fWAR since 2012—a season in which he 0.4 Wins Above Replacement—and is well known to be a very poor defender—owning a -19.4 UZR across 3179 career innings in the outfield—Viciedo has consistently hit well against left handed pitching throughout his career.
Viciedo owns a .291/.331/.507 (.837 OPS) clip against left handed pitching over his Major League career, which is significantly higher than the .240/.286/.393 (.679 OPS) clip he posted against righties. Not to mention the .359 wOBA and 124 wRC+ Viciedo owns against southpaws, clearly alluding to how very good of an all-around hitter he is against such pitchers. Surely teams will look at Viciedo as a platoon outfield option, giving him more value than he might appear to have on the outside.
Viciedo, who is only in his mid-twenties, could easily be a solid fourth outfielder and/or platoon option for teams that have the rare problem of being lefty heavy—like the A’s who have Sam Fuld, Josh Reddick, and the switch-hitting Coco Crisp—as he adds value in hitting significantly better versus left handed pitching.