The “we need a right-handed bat” chatter continues in Cleveland, in some cases to the dismay of fans who think the Indians are in a fine place as it is. But the Tribe front office is going to stay on the hunt, and former Chicago White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo has crossed into their sights.
Viciedo’s time in the Windy City came to an end with the signing of Melky Cabrera. Viciedo, who batted only .231 last season while striking out 122 times, does offer the Tribe a power bat. In the past three seasons in Chicago, he hit 25, 14 and 21 home runs for the Sox.
The problem is he doesn’t offer much else. He has a career on-base percentage of .298, and a high number of strikeouts (120 in ’12, 122 last year) doesn’t help his value. His value in the field is minimal, as he led the league in errors by an outfielder with eight, and was second in 2013 in the same category.
So what do we have? We have a designated hitter, or a pinch hitter that is a liability in the field. Value to the Indians? Not much. Even with Brandon Moss and Steve Swisher looking to make comebacks off of injury, there’s still enough depth in the outfield to cover, and Viciedo has played less than 20 games at first base.
If for whatever reason the Indians brass feels the desire to truly make a run at Viciedo, this is a deal they likely won’t get with a minor-league contract. At 26, Viciedo still has time to be an effective role player, and has the pop to be a help to a lineup somewhere.
But that somewhere shouldn’t be Cleveland.
“Kicking tires” is always the right choice over the course of the off-season, just as they’ve done on players like Andruw Jones and Barry Zito. But even with the players that have questions surrounding them, this is still a team that was in the thick of the playoff race till the final weeks.
There’s no reason to go out and spend good money on a player like Viciedo who doesn’t fit.