I think we all agree that adding a potent bat to the inconsistent White Sox offense would be a huge plus. Juan Pierre‘s not getting the job done, Gordon Beckham is still scuffling for the most part and the struggles of Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have been documented ad nauseum. And, oh, the lack of clutch hitting.
Forget the trade route, it’s not necessary to pursue. The answer is staring us in the face and it’s in the person of Dayan Viciedo. Kenny Williams has said he’s ready, Dayan himself has said he’s ready, and we could use a shot of adrenaline. Let’s do it.
Three spring trainings ago, when he was 19, there was some scuttlebutt that the Cuban-born Viciedo would be ready to take over third base right away. But it became obvious he had defensive deficiencies, had minimal patience at the plate, was not in good condition and generally not ready for prime time.
So, the Sox sent him to AA Birmingham, then AAA Charlotte, where he is now. He temporarily shifted to first base and now has settled nicely in right field. He’s matured, is in good shape, has more plate discipline–and, of course, still has that electric bat that Sox fans saw briefly last year when he was called up to Chicago. There’s every reason to believe he can be a dominant major league hitter.
His stats back that up. So far this season he has 11 homers, 47 RBIs, 21 doubles, a .325 batting average and a .913 OPS.
So, who does Viciedo replace in the lineup and on the roster? My vote is that he starts in right with Carlos Quentin moving to left. As much as he’s a good guy and a hard worker, Juan Pierre should be the everyday odd man out. Then, it seems it would be between Juan and Mark Teahen as to who stays or goes.
I know, there’s the issue of the leadoff man. Pierre has had trouble bunting, is only hitting in the .250s and isn’t much of a stolen base threat anymore. It might not be as big a problem as we think. And we’re fully aware he’s been dreadful at times in the outfield.
The most logical choice is Alexei Ramirez. He’s not ideal, but I have confidence he can get the job done. It also might mean moving Beckham to the No. 2 hole, though Ozzie has said that in time Brent Morel may be the answer there.
I’ll let KW and the skipper figure out the details, but since there are viable options I’m confident it’s the right thing to do–and at the right time.