2012 will be an important year for Dayan Viciedo.
According to the White Sox’ official Twitter feed, general manager Kenny Williams said Saturday that the 22-year-old Cuban is “the favorite to start in right field” in the wake of the Carlos Quentin trade.
Viciedo struggled in the big leagues last year, posting a weak .255/.327/.314 batting line in 113 plate appearances. But he has a .284/.332/.453 career slash line in the minors and has slugged 20 home runs in each of the past two seasons at Triple-A Charlotte. His bat is major league-ready, and his defensive abilities — while limited — can’t be that much worse than Quentin’s. The newest Padre rates as an extremely poor outfielder by just about any measure.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.