Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Viciedo could ultimately be first priority
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO –The Chicago White Sox might have a new general manager, but the club’s big board that projects lineups into the future isn’t expected to go anywhere.
Under former general manager, now vice president, Kenny Williams, the big board was often referenced. On it, the White Sox not only project what next season’s lineup and depth chart might look like, they project it up to four seasons ahead.
With Rick Hahn now occupying the GM chair, the big board continues to be used while also continuing to be shrouded in secrecy. Don’t ask to see it. Don’t ask what’s on it.
One area where it could show multiple options for seasons to come is at first base. Paul Konerko’s contract expires after the upcoming season, while Adam Dunn’s is set to expire one season after that. So who do the White Sox see as their long-term answer at first base if Konerko and Dunn play elsewhere in the near future?
For now, Dayan Viciedo appears to have the potential to be the first baseman of the future.
“Down the road absolutely (he could take over at first base),” Hahn said. “This year, though, we plan on him being in left field.”
Viciedo has played third base in the past and the club had an opening there this offseason. They didn’t make that switch, though, and at least part of the reason is because they didn’t want to follow his recent move from the infield to the outfield, to be followed by a move back to third base and possibly another one to first.
“The decision to not move him this year was partly based on that but also it was based on what we felt would make us the strongest club from a defensive standpoint,” Hahn said.
If Konerko plays elsewhere after the 2013 season, Dunn could take over on the infield. Or the White Sox could make Viciedo the first baseman as soon as 2014 and keep Dunn as the designated hitter.
While the move to Viciedo has the potential to keep run production high from the first-base spot, it figures to have the opposite effect on defense. Konerko provides some of the best glove work at first base, but Viciedo could provide an upgrade with range on the infield.
Yet another reason Viciedo’s move to first base makes sense is because of all the highly-regarded outfield prospects ready to make a breakthrough. It could be time to leave left field to somebody else very soon. Courtney Hawkins and Trayce Thompson are considered two of the best prospects in the system, with Keenyn Walker and Jared Mitchell not far behind.
Under Hahn, that White Sox big board could be aimed toward a significant youth movement.