According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Indians have interest in outfielder Dayan Viciedo, even though it may be difficult for them to beat out other teams for his services. Designated for assignment, and later released by the Chicago White Sox, Viciedo is now a free agent and looking for a home for the 2015 season. There are a number of teams interested, which means that Viciedo may end up with a major league deal, rather than a minor league pact with an invite to spring training. Would it be a good idea for the Indians to pursue Viciedo? Let’s look at the positives and negatives.
– How many more outfielders do the Indians actually need to stockpile? Heading into spring training the Indians already have Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Brandon Moss, and David Murphy on the list of guys who could play the outfield. Unless they can find a taker for one or two of these guys, do they really need to bring someone else to camp? I mean, I know it’s good to have depth, but they’re creeping close to having their own episode of Hoarders: Outfielders Edition.
– Viciedo had a really rough 2014. He hit just .231/.281/.405 (.686 OPS), well below his (already somewhat average) career averages of .254/.298/.424 (.722 OPS)
– Viciedo probably wants a major league deal. There aren’t typically a lot of power bats laying around unused and unwanted. So there is going to be competition for Viciedo’s services, and he’ll likely command a major league deal. Do you want to commit money to a guy that had a rough 2014, especially when you have other options? Also, Viciedo can see that the Indians have plenty of outfield options. He probably wants a team that will ensure him more playing time.
– Viciedo is a poor defensive outfielder. He never had a season with the White Sox where he was in the positives in defensive runs saved. He was at -17 DRS last season, which would have made him one of the worst defenders on the Indians, a team of terrible defenders. With Asdrubal Cabrera gone, the Indians are desperately trying to improve their defensive performance in 2015. Having Viciedo play games in the outfield will not be a step in the right direction.
– Viciedo is a right-handed bat that does well against left-handed pitching. The Indians have needed a solid right-handed bat that does well against left-handed pitching. Viciedo has great numbers against lefties – .291/.331/.507 versus .240/.286/.393 against righties. In a platoon situation against left-handed pitching, Viciedo could be a valuable resource.
– Even with the poor 2014, he has decent power numbers. Every year that he’s been a full-time outfielder with Chicago (2012-2014) Viciedo was in the double digits as far as home runs. Even with his poor average and OBP last season, he still hit 21 home runs.
I find Viciedo a tempting and intriguing potential addition for the Tribe. A right-handed power bat that does well against left-handed pitching is something that Indians have been lacking for quite some time. However, with multiple offers on the table, is Viciedo likely to accept what essentially be a platoon role with the Indians? Because I really don’t want to see him play every day for the Tribe; I think he’d be better utilized against lefties. With Viciedo’s poor defense and mediocre numbers against righties, he just isn’t someone I want to see full-time in the outfielder. If it requires a major league deal to sign him, I’d probably avoid doing so. On an incentive-laden minor league deal, I think this could be a solid move for the Indians (although like I said, with decent levels of interest it will likely require a major league deal). If the Indians were able to move David Murphy, I may have a slight change of heart. However, if it comes to it, I’d rather just cross my fingers and hope someone from the pile of outfielders steps forward and has a bounce-back year.