Just when we were starting to get settled in and focusing on what team to expect when Spring Training rolls around, somebody throws this at us. The rumor, originally coming from Mark Gonzales of the Tribune, states that the White Sox are shopping Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza. Towards the end of the Winter Meetings, Hahn stated that there would be more than the expected $98Mish payroll to work with going into 2013. I took that to mean that perhaps another free agent signing was on the horizon, and the usual trade suspects of Gavin Floyd and Matt Thornton would be discussed at length but I didn’t see this one coming.
My initial reaction was to wonder why they would want to trade two team controlled players away; one with a high ceiling, and one with a level of consistency that was at a premium for last year’s team. Beyond that, I was taken aback because, well, I like Viciedo and I like De Aza.
Why move them?
Alejandro De Aza was an excellent leadoff man for the White Sox in 2012. He got on base very well for a squad that had very little of that. His .349 OBP was second on the team to Paul Konerko. This does a good job of pointing at how we can come to overvalue him. That .349 on-base would be good for 6th on the 2012 Tigers, but looks nice and shiny alongside a team of free-swingers. Was De Aza very good or just very good for a White Sox player? His OPS+ for the year was 104, putting him barely above league average. If you ignore some glaring mistakes in centerfield, he performed reasonably in center field. But that requires you to ignore those misreads that occurred on quite a few occasions, which is tough to do. De Aza himself claims to be more comfortable at a corner outfield spot. The Sox may also feel like they’ve just seen the best he has to offer, and perhaps a decline is in the stars. It’s my opinion that this level of performance is perfectly sustainable for a guy that will turn 29 as the season begins, but it makes some sense to find out what other teams feel about his abilities, and the continuation of those abilities.
Dayan Viciedo is even more complicated, as a lot of time and money have gone into his development and he could begin to fulfill his promise any day now. When you look at his underwhelming .744 OPS last season and the 4th worst strikeout to walk ration in the majors (behind Delmon Young, Alexei Ramirez and Chris Davis), it’s easy to get frustrated and wonder if that potential ever gets filled. He’s under team control, sure, but his contract situation is quirky as an international signing from 2008. He made $2.5M in 2012, and as Jim Margalus clarifies, he’s in line for a small raise in 2013. Left field isn’t typically too difficult to fill, but the White Sox are coming off of a 2 year stretch in which Juan Pierre played that role, and even an unfulfilled Viciedo is an improvement there. Again, without him being a sure thing, it’s worth seeing how other teams value him.
What would this do for the White Sox in 2013?
Clearly this creates a hole in the outfield. And then how to fill? Jordan Danks? Call up Jared Mitchell? *narrows eyes* Let DeWayne Wise play full time? That’s tough. It makes you wonder if there isn’t some consideration towards the rebuild that’s been hinted at over the last year.