We are at the stage of the offseason where free agent signings for all but the best available players are going to be on minor league deals. With that in mind, Ken Rosenthal tweeted Friday that the Athletics and Blue Jays are "among teams talking to [Dayan] Viciedo."
Just a little bit later, the Blue Jays got word that Michael Saunders will miss much less time than initially feared and the team will stick with internal options, writes Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi:
[T]he news is very good for the Blue Jays, who were closely examining external options to try and cover Saunders' absence. Instead, any plans they may have had are now on the backburner and they'll make do with what they have internally.
The Cleveland Indians have also expressed interest in Viciedo in the last few weeks, though only on a minor league deal, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The White Sox released Viciedo on February 4 after signing Gordon Beckham, and owe Viciedo $733,000.
Viciedo is horrifying at defense. Viciedo has Vladimir Guerrero levels of plate discipline, but does not yet have the hoped for Vladimir Guerrero levels of homer run hitting. But he's young enough to have one last chance at a breakout, and as far as the A's are concerned, he has one more thing going for him...
Viciedo is a free agent
Sure you might want a better outfielder, but Viciedo does not have to be a better outfielder. He just needs to be another piece of outfield organizational depth for an A's organization devoid of major league outfield prospects.
On a minor league deal, Viciedo does not take up a 40-man spot. At worst he hangs out in Nashville and is in the outfield or designated hitter mix with Billy Burns, Alex Hassan , Jason Pridie, and Kent Matthes. No major league prospects will be robbed of an opportunity to compete at Triple-A because the A's hardly have any as of now.
Signing Viciedo just offers another option out of the minor leagues when the A's face their inevitable slew of injuries piling on top of each other. Ben Zobrist can only play one position at a time, unfortunately. Might as well find out if the slugger turning 26 can finally start destroying baseballs enough to make his horrifying defense worth it.