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.
Jon Heyman has been hot on the free agent trail today, reporting that the Padres have made offers both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The offer to Machado is believed to be for eight years and about $250 million, while the offer to Harper is believed to be for more than that.
Heyman was reporting on Harper earlier, tweeting that the Phillies are the favorite to sign him. He added this evening that Harper has multiple long-term offers at more than $30 million annually. Regarding Machado, Heyman noted that while Machado was believed to have had a preference for the East coast, he will go for the best deal now, which puts the Padres firmly in the picture.
The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week. A late entrant into the sweepstakes, the club has shown the willingness to spend, signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract last year. If he goes to San Diego, Machado would be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop.
Nothing appears close, but we’ll take anything resembling a spark to light the hot stove.