Things have not been looking good for Dayan Viciedo since Avisail Garcia returned. That's been all of seven games, so small sample size and all that, but this isn't about performance. And it's not an arbitrary endpoint, either.
--Avisail Garcia: 7 games, 7 starts, 26 plate appearances
--Alejandro De Aza: 6 games, 6 starts, 25 plate appearances
--Jordan Danks: 6 games, 6 starts, 20 plate appearances
--Dayan Viciedo: 3 games, 2 starts, 9 plate appearances
At least Viciedo got to play on Saturday. He was rather questionably placed in to pinch-hit against fireballing right-hander David Robertson and struck out on three pitches. Jordan Danks is just filling in to give the Sox a legit centerfielder until Adam Eaton returns from his injury rehab, but that giving a total non-prospect, no-future org soldier the reigns to keep the defense from getting ridiculous while the team is 10 games under .500 in August--and De Aza is not that bad of a guy to play in CF in a pinch!--is more important to Robin Ventura than getting Viciedo regular at-bats...
Well...it's not good for Dayan.
Viciedo has an even 1700 plate appearances for his career, a 94 wRC+, and negative value in every other part of his game. Perhaps more distressing than having a career-worst year in a second 'prove it' season, is that he's been decidedly below average (like, more than 10%) against left-handed pitching the last two seasons, removing any security that he could at least succeed in a minor, Paul Konerko role.
The Sox just kicked Beckham to the curb, and cited the extensive opportunity to succeed he was offered as justification. Even with a half-filled cupboard of superior options, the Sox seem to have given up the ghost as far as feeding Viciedo playing time to realize his potential.
If there's one thing on Viciedo's side as far as staying in Chicago, it's that he's just too bad. Gordon Beckham started at third base for Los Angeles Saturday night. He made at least widely commended play in the field on the night, and has experience and the arm for the position. The same can be said for two other spots on the diamond, and teams need those positions on the diamond defended every night. Viciedo fills no specific need for anyone right now, and there's not quite the bottleneck of prospects worth a shot bubbling up in the outfield that there was behind Beckham.
For many, the departure of Beckham was the end of an era, but even Ozzie Guillen batted him ninth with regularity. That he was swapped for a utility player's ransom fits the box he's been in for years. His presence in the No. 2 hole seems to be more about a confusion about what kind of player should bat second. Viciedo was supposed to anchor this lineup for a decade, preferably amid of a cadre of fellow Cubans. It's a hard thing to move on from that kind of projection, but it looks like the Sox might just finally have.
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