Should Dayan Viciedo be on the Angels Radar?


Josh Hamilton underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder. He is expected to miss the next 6-8 weeks, and is considered doubtful to return in time for opening day. The Chicago White Sox released power hitting outfielder Dayan Viciedo on Wednesday. Will the Halos show any interest in signing the 25-year-old slugger in the wake of Hamilton’s injury?

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Dayan Viciedo’s offensive upside is obvious, and his power from the right side of the plate is admirable. Viciedo hit .231, with 21 home runs and 58 RBI’s over the course of 145 games in 2014. Last season was not a strong one for Viciedo, but his career numbers illustrate his potential to develop into an impact bat. Since he became an everyday player in 2012, he has hit .250 with 60 home runs and 192 RBI’s. Viciedo has crushed left-handed pitching during his career, batting .291 with 21 home runs and 57 RBI’s across 454 at bats versus southpaws. The White Sox have improved their roster dramatically this offseason, but it is surprising they would give up on a 25-year-old with 60 career home runs.

Dayan Viciedo has struggled mightily defensively over his first five seasons. He entered the big leagues as a pure hitter, who did not really have a defensive position. He has seen time at third base, first base, and right field, but his most experienced position is left field. His career 1.84 range factor per 9 innings in left field is just below the league average of 1.97. Viciedo has a strong arm, but he has had trouble with concentration during his first five seasons, registering a dismal .978 fielding percentage in left field. 2014 was his worst season with the leather, posting a horrible .952 fielding percentage across 55 games out in left. His ineptitude on defense leads to frustration for fans. Viciedo would serve the Halos best in a designated hitter role rather than as a full time outfielder.

Currently, it appears Matt Joyce, Collin Cowgill, and Dan Robertson will share the left field duties until Hamilton is ready to return. All three of these players are superior fielders to Viciedo, but none of them possess his power at the plate. Joyce was acquired to fill the designated hitter spot in the Halos lineup, but he may be thrust into extended action in left if Hamilton is unable to stay healthy in 2015. Joyce is considered a plus defender in left field, and his bat is by far the most impressive among the in-house candidates. Cowgill and Robertson are very similar players, who have limited tools offensively, but have proven to be quality outfielders in limited action, capable of playing all three positions.

Hamilton struggled with injuries throughout last season, but the Halos averted disaster by finding an unlikely cleanup hitter to replace him. Howie Kendrick posted his best numbers as a pro in 2014, and was the true unsung hero of last year’s division winning squad. However, Kendrick was shipped off to the crosstown Dodgers this winter for starter Andrew Heaney. With Kendrick no longer able to fill the void left by Hamilton, the Halos will have to look elsewhere to find a run producer. Mike Trout is expected to slide into the number three hole in the lineup this season, pushing Albert Pujols into the cleanup spot. Hamilton was set to take the reigns of the number five spot, but his shoulder injury has cast doubt on his April status.

Is there anybody on the roster capable of producing similar numbers to those of Josh Hamilton? Based on Hamilton’s mediocre numbers from the past two seasons, I would say yes. There is a decent chance David Freese could step into the five spot and flourish. Also, if the Angels opt to station Joyce out in left field to begin the 2015 campaign, they can employ promising youngster C.J. Cron as the fulltime DH.

Cron hit .247 with 11 home runs and 37 RBI’s across 79 games in his debut season. While those numbers are not earth shattering, his minor league totals suggest the 25-year-old right-hander has the power to top 20 home runs in 2015. General Manger Jerry Dipoto places a lot of stock in a players’ ability to get on base. Cron posted a .289 on base percentage in 2014 and Viciedo has registered a career OBP of .298. Viciedo’s career numbers are more impressive than Cron’s, however Cron has the potential to develop into a middle of the order bat for the Angels.

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Player who have the power hitting track record of Dayan Viciedo are usually hot commodities on the free agent market. Personally, I would welcome the Angels signing Dayan Viciedo to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. You cannot teach Viciedo’s power, and he would be an intriguing insurance plan for Josh Hamilton. However, if it requires anything more than a minor league deal, I would pass on the 25-year-old. With his deficiencies in the outfield, he simply does not merit a significant financial commitment at this stage of his career. Considering Cron and Viciedo are likely to perform similar duties and produce similar results, going with Cron as the right-handed bat off the bench makes more sense to the Halos from an economics standpoint.

The Angels were the favorites to repeat as American League West champs prior to the Hamilton injury, and thanks to some shrewd moves this offseason by Jerry Dipoto, they are still a team capable of earning a postseason birth without his presence. Dayan Viciedo may generate some interest from the Angels, but considering how hot his market is expected to be, I doubt the Halos will be aggressive enough to land the 25-year-old slugger.

Next: Is it Time to Give Up on Josh Hamilton?