We are awfully hard on Dayan Viciedo round these parts, and I castigate him as frequently as anybody. It would be cowardly of me, then, to ignore him when he is doing well. Over the past 20 games, Viciedo has hit .290/.338/.609 to raise his OPS on the season from .679 to .738.* Although even after that hot streak he is still only at an OPS+ of 103, and none of this has any bearing on the fact that he is one of the worst defensive outfielders in the majors, it always seemed more realistic that if he was going to succeed he would do it by bashing a ton of home runs, not by becoming a complete player. What has been scary is that his power had been strangely absent while it looked like he tooled around, unsuccessfully, with a more patient approach. Then Monday night saw him crush an 0-2 pitch to right-center for a 3-run dinger, his 5th in 10 games. It's not a perfect approach, but that seems more in line with who he is. Way to play to your strengths, Dayan!
If Adam Dunn does depart at the deadline, Viciedo could soak up some PAs at 1B/DH where he can't hurt the team with his defense anymore, and maybe can focus on just smacking as many dingers as he can. If he turns into a .260/.320/.480 type guy that's not great but it isn't the worst thing in the world, and it can serve some sort of role on a major league roster. If he can have just enough patience to not get himself desperately behind in counts, maybe he can access his patience backwards -- scare pitchers enough with his power that they are careful enough with him that he gets a livable amount of walks as a result.
Sadly, we are going to have to pat ourselves on the back for one prediction -- it looks like we had Paul Konerko being done pegged correctly. Every time he does something good, like popping a timely dinger or double, it prompts me to check on his line for the year and it is always worse than I expect it to be. Granted, the injury to Avisail Garcia means that he is facing a lot more right-handed pitchers than the team planned for him to, but .221/.260/.385 from a part-time DH is just as brutal on your roster as you might imagine.
Injuries and a lack of depth have meant that this team wasn't likely to compete anyway, but there's no upside to bringing Konerko back. Last year had the tone of a farewell tour anyway, so this just feels like a funeral march. It isn't there yet, but there are guys in Triple-A who will deserve some major league at bats soon, and they can provide defensive utility that Konerko clearly cannot.
Given that Konerko is largely a symbolic presence, they can't really justify cutting him to make room.
*Article written before Tuesday night's game.
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