- Doug Padilla, ESPN Staff Writer
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As trade rumors swirl around Dayan Viciedo -- a player many once thought would be an eventual mainstay in the heart of the Chicago White Sox order -- the projected starting left fielder is trying to avoid all the chatter.
Multiple reports have said teams are coming to the White Sox with interest not only in Viciedo, but in Alejandro De Aza as well. Expected to be the fourth outfielder this season, De Aza is actually the highest-paid outfielder on the team, set to make $4.25 million this season.
At 25 years old, though, Viciedo is four years younger that De Aza and will make $1.45 million less this season. His potential upside could be enticing for teams that want to take a gamble on corner outfield production.
“I haven’t really thought about [trade rumors] to be honest with you,” Viciedo told reporters Monday in Arizona. “Those are things I don’t control and things out of players' control. So that type of thing doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is the work that I’m putting in out on the field and try to get better every day this spring.”
Viciedo’s brief tour in Chicago hasn’t quite been a smooth one. He seemed to show his potential in 2012 with 25 home runs and 78 RBIs to go along with a .444 slugging percentage, but an early oblique injury he suffered last season, coupled with a wildly aggressive swing once he returned, led to 14 home runs, 56 RBIs and a .426 slugging percentage in 2013.
One intriguing aspect for the White Sox to explore, though, is whether the arrival of fellow Cuban Jose Abreu has a positive influence on Viciedo, who says Chicago is the place for him.
“Only God knows what will happen in the future, but right now, and in the future, I’m thinking about the White Sox,” Viciedo said. “I’m thinking about how I can make this team better, how I can contribute to this team. This is where I want to be.”
A fresh start could be what Viciedo needs, but he isn’t ready to go that route just yet.
“I don’t think about other opportunities or what other opportunities may be,” he said. “Baseball is baseball. But my opportunity, and what I have to do, is right here right now and getting better, doing what I’m doing and helping this team. I don’t think about other opportunities. Whatever happens in the future happens. But what I’m thinking about is right here, right now.”