At this point the flaws in Viciedo’s game are well-known. He can’t hit righties (career .679 OPS), he swings at everything in sight (career 5.3% walk rate), he runs about as well as I do on the base paths, and he has about as much range as mailbox in the outfield. He hasn’t even hit lefties well over the past two seasons (.709 and .679 OPS’), which is supposed to be his meal ticket to a spot on a 25-man roster.
So of course there’s fear throughout the Indians blogosphere that the Indians might take a plunge on a player that seemingly offers no value. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that if all of us reading and writing about the team on the internet are aware of the flaws in Viciedo’s game, surely the Tribe’s front office is aware of them too. Yet, if the rumors are believed to be true, the team believes Viciedo might be able to help them.
It’s dangerous to simply appeal to authority when defending a team’s actions. Just because the people making the decisions have the status of working in the front office doesn’t make them infallible. But at some point it makes sense to believe that if the team does add Viciedo to the roster then they will put him into a position to succeed, and if discovery he is not able to help them they will cut bait as necessary.
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Such is the luxury of rooting for a team with smart people running the show. Not only are they smart enough to know Viciedo’s limitations, they’re smart enough to look at him through the lens of what he is able to do to help a ball club. In 2012, Viciedo notched a 1.033 OPS against lefties. That may seem like ages ago, but that’s why Viciedo is being talked about as a possible addition two days before pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona.
Dayan Viciedo will not likely be the difference between the Indians making a deep October run or making early offseason fishing plans. It’s not even all that likely they’ll sign him at this point. But if they do sign him it they’ll do so knowing exactly what his limitations are, and they’ll do so knowing exactly what he’ll be able to do to help them this season. They have earned the right to be trusted on that much.