If the White Sox decide to let Paul Konerko leave as a free agent–and with the privilege to match any offer the decision may truly be up to them–they may turn to rookie Dayan Viciedo as the starter at first base, according to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune.
With a 167/34 K/BB ratio in the minors and 25/2 mark in his first taste of the majors I’m not convinced that Viciedo is ready to thrive in the big leagues yet, but if he’s going to get a chance next season at age 22 it makes sense that it would be at first base or designated hitter.
He was signed out of Cuba as a third baseman and played mostly third base in the minors, but the consensus seems to be that at 5-foot-11 and 240 pounds Viciedo is unlikely to stick there as even an adequate defender long term. Ultimate Zone Rating pegged him as 2.3 runs below average in just 162 innings at third base with the White Sox in his debut and Viciedo committed four errors in 19 starts there. Beyond that, Chicago also has Mark Teahen and Brent Morel as third base options for 2011.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.