Dayan Viciedo pitches White Sox to fellow Cuban stars
By Daryl Van Schouwen firstname.lastname@example.org January 17, 2012 9:36PM
Outfielder Dayan Viciedo has been doing his part to convince Yoennis Cespedes and Jorge Soler to sign with the White Sox. | Getty Images
Updated: February 19, 2012 8:22AM
The White Sox need to draw on everything at their disposal to attract Yoennis Cespedes. Dayan Viciedo is doing his part.
The Sox’ promising Cuban outfielder reached out to Cespedes and Jorge Soler, the coveted Cuban soon-to-be free agents.
Cespedes, a 26-year-old power-hitting outfielder who reminds scouts of Bo Jackson, might be in line for a multiyear, $50 million contract, which would seem to take him out of the Sox’ plans.
General manager Ken Williams is cutting payroll this offseason and is said to have not stopped listening to offers for righty Gavin Floyd — a move he might have to make if chairman Jerry Reinsdorf wants the payroll in the $95 million range, as a team source has suggested. Or is Williams so enamored with Cespedes that he’s making payroll room for a bid?
“Cespedes is definitely ready for the major leagues,’’ Viciedo said in a conference call Tuesday. “Everything I’ve heard about his game is [that he’s ready]. Being a little bit older, he has the experience to come right in and play right away.’’
Viciedo did not play recruiter at the urging of the Sox. Cespedes and Soler, a 19-year-old outfielder who’s not major-league ready, are in the Dominican Republic waiting to become citizens there. When that happens, it’s expected to take about two weeks for them to become free agents.
“I’ve been in Miami, but I have reached out to both of the Soler and Cespedes camps,” Viciedo said through translator Jackson Miranda. “I put in a good word and told them how great the organization is and how great a fit they would be if they [came to the Sox].
“It was about me reaching out to my fellow Cubans and wishing the best for them. They’re not signed, and I can’t tell them which way to go, but I can just give them my advice, especially having been in the situation they’re in. And also just tell them how much I’d enjoy having them on the team this year.’’
Cespedes is off to a slow start in the Dominican Winter League, where he’s 2-for-19 with six strikeouts.
He said last week that the six teams that have shown the most interest are the Cubs, Sox, Marlins, Orioles, Tigers and Indians.
Baseball Prospectus ranks the Cubs as having the best shot at Cespedes, with the Marlins second in the derby. The Phillies are also in the picture.
With Viciedo and shortstop Alexei Ramirez on the team, plus Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez in their recent past, the Sox have that much going for them, but in the end, it will come down to money.