Dayan Viciedo signs minor league contract with Blue Jays
Former White Sox hit .231 with 21 homers in 2014
Taking another flyer, the Blue Jays signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo to a minor-league contract Sunday.
The 25-year-old Cuban, released by the White Sox in early February, will be given a chance to show he belongs somewhere on the depth chart.
"He's got some power, a right-handed bat," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "Has played some third [base] in his career, played some first. Certainly played the outfield and we'll just take a look at him for the month of March and see what we have."
Any minor-league deal, there's no downside to it. You always take chances on those.- Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos on minor deals for Johan Santana and Dayan Viciedo
On Thursday, the Jays signed former Cy Young Award-winner Johan Santana to another minor-league deal. Santana, sidelined by shoulder and Achilles injuries, last threw in the majors in 2012.
Both players would get a pro-rated $2.5-million US, one-year deal if they make the team, with Santana also getting performance bonuses. The minor league rate is $20,000 a month.
"Any minor-league deal, there's no downside to it," Anthopoulos said. "You always take chances on those."
Viciedo signed a $10-million, four-year deal with the White Sox in December 2008. He settled on a one-year $4.4-million contract in arbitration earlier this year but was cut loose with Chicago looking to former Blue Jay Melky Cabrera in left field.
The five-foot-11, 240-pound Cuban batted .231 last season with 21 home runs and 58 runs batted in. He had 122 strikeouts and 32 walks in 523 at-bats and is not known for his outfield defence.
Viciedo gives the Jays another option in left field with Michael Saunders out for five to six weeks after undergoing surgery to remove his meniscus. But given Saunders' expected early return date, Viciedo may have a better shot of sticking elsewhere, with Anthopoulos saying first base/DH is "the most wide open spot in terms of competition."
The Jays have talked of giving Edwin Encarnacion, who plays both positions, more time at designated hitter to save his body. Justin Smoak, Daric Barton and Matt Hague are other first base options.
Physical slated for Monday
Viciedo hit well against left-handers earlier in his career (.350 against left-handers and .225 against right-handers in 2012) but his splits have narrowed since. He hit .221 against lefties and .235 against righties last season
Viciedo is scheduled to have a medical Monday and take the field Tuesday.
"If he makes the team better, maybe there's a spot for him," said manager John Gibbons. "But he's got to play well."
Added Anthopoulos: "I think the big thing is we want to see how he hits."
Viciedo showed his bat last June, slamming a Dustin McGowan pitch into the stands for a three-run homer that helped the visiting White Sox to a 4-3 comeback win over the Jays.
"Probably my worst move of the year," Gibbons joked.
"He's got big-time power," he added. "Really as much as anybody."
Over the last three seasons, Viciedo has 16 hits including four home runs in 42 at-bats at the Rogers Centre. He has hit .313 against the Jays over that period.