The Chicago White Sox have requested unconditional release waivers for slugging outfielder Dayan Viciedo, per a club announcement. The 25-year-old Viciedo was designated for assignment last week, but it appears that Chicago was unable to find a trade partner.
Just last month, the White Sox made the curious decision to avoid arbitration with Viciedo, agreeing to a one-year, $4.4 million deal with the apparent intention of trading him. However, with no success on the trade front, the White Sox will now be on the hook for approximately $733,000.
The White Sox originally signed Viciedo, a Cuban defector, to a four-year, $10 million deal in December of 2008. In five years with the White Sox, he failed to live up to the lofty potential many thought he possessed. Viciedo hit .254/.298/.424 with a 96 OPS+, 66 home runs, and 0.7 WAR across 487 big league games. He has an abundance of raw power, but lacks a strong ability to make contact, has poor plate discipline (5.3% walk rate), and is a negative value in the field, having cost the White Sox approximately 18 runs in the outfield over the past three seasons. Viciedo was especially poor in 2014, hitting for just a 92 OPS+ with a -0.7 WAR and -17 defensive runs saved. In addition to his poor performance, Viciedo was also displaced in Chicago by the presence of Jose Abreu at first base, Adam LaRoche at designated hitter, and both Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia in the corner outfield spots.
Nearly 26, Viciedo is still quite young and carries some upside, and could bring value to an AL club as a full-time DH. As FOX Sports' Jon Morosi noted last week, the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners could be two potential fits.
Viciedo is also the rare example of a major Cuban signee failing to live up to expectations in recent years. He has never reached stardom like Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes have, and has been overshadowed by the likes of Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez on his own team.
Also on Wednesday, the White Sox acquired right-hander Yency Almonte from the Angels, completing August's Gordon Beckham trade. Of course, the Angels non-tendered Beckham this offseason, and last week, he decided to rejoin the White Sox on a one-year, $2 million deal. The 20-year-old Almonte was a 17th round pick in the 2012 draft, and owns a career 6.44 ERA in 102.0 minor league innings, including a 4.93 ERA and 2.29 K/BB in nine starts at Low-A Burlington in 2014.