Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Who will decide when to promote Viciedo?
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- As the White Sox offense waits for a savior, Dayan Viciedo keeps mashing the ball at Triple-A Charlotte.
The 22-year-old newly minted right fielder leads the International League in total bases (144), is second in hits (89), is tied for second in RBI (49), is fourth in batting average (.328) and is fifth in slugging percentage (.531).
White Sox prospect Dayan Viciedo is hitting .328 at Triple-A Charlotte.
For fans looking for a quick fix, his promotion is a no-brainer. For general manager Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen it isn’t so simple. In fact, they seem to be at odds over how Viciedo’s promotion could happen.
“Right now we’re going to hold tight,” Williams said Monday. “Ozzie likes the team that he’s running out there every day. If it turns out he wants a little more offense and change up the mix a little bit, we know we can tap into him at moment’s notice. And (Guillen) knows he can get him at a moment’s notice if he wants to change up the mix."
So that seems to suggest that the only thing keeping Viciedo in Charlotte is Guillen’s reluctance to bring him to the major leagues. Well, maybe not.
“If Kenny want it, it’s very welcome, but we have to make a move,” Guillen said. “I don’t have to make the move, he has to make the move. If he makes the move I’ll respect that. I always respect Kenny’s moves. Never in eight years I’ve been working here, I’ve never, never criticized any moves. Just give me the club and I’ll manage it.”
The popular outcry is for Juan Pierre to yield playing time with Carlos Quentin moving to left field and Viciedo taking over in right. But that plan isn’t endorsed by Guillen.
“Look around. You think Juan is our problem?” Guillen said. “Juan has better numbers than a few people here. Why is it Juan? Why can’t it be someone else? Juan has better numbers than a lot of people here. I can’t say anything about my players because I’m happy with what I’ve got. But like I say, if this kid’s coming, I’ll play him. I’ll find a way to play him.”
Indeed, Pierre entered Tuesday’s game against the Cubs with a .256 batting average, just four points lower than Quentin. It was also better than the batting averages of Adam Dunn (.178), Alex Rios (.210), Brent Morel (.248) and Gordon Beckham (.230).
Guillen likes having a classic leadoff man who makes contact and utilizes his speed, but Pierre’s .318 on-base percentage is worse than Dunn’s .319 mark. His 34 runs scored are tied with Rios. And he has been successful in just 10 of 19 stolen base attempts.
It still doesn’t make Guillen comfortable reducing the versatility of the lineup by bringing aboard another cleanup-type hitter with a high strikeout rate.
“Everybody likes to have a leadoff guy with a little speed, it’s not just me,” Guillen said. “Look at all the leadoff hitters around baseball. Should I put Dunn leadoff because he’s the one who get on base the most? Instead of striking out four [times], he might strike out six. Come on guys, give me a break here.
“The thing is, if we want Viciedo we have to move somebody and I don’t have the power to move people out of here or send people out of here.”