Talks With Melky Cabrera Stalling, Seattle Mariners May Be Turning To Dayan Viciedo


In the last week Melky Cabrera went from wanting to stay on the east coast, to willing to go anywhere, to an all-but done deal with the Seattle Mariners, and now to stalled negotiator with the M’s.

According to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Mariners are showing interest in Chicago White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo, as negotiations with free-agent Melky Cabrera have stalled.

Viciedo, a 25-year old power hitter from Cuba, has been linked to the Mariners as recently as the July trade deadline in 2014. It is not surprising that the Mariners are looking to the right-handed power right fielder again, with all the rumors of stalled negotiations and impasses on the trade front.

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The M’s could still land switch-hitting Cabrera, as they still remain the favorites to sign him with an uninspired pursuit by other teams. But, at this juncture, the M’s keep digging deeper and deeper to find right field hitters that won’t cost either James Paxton or Taijuan Walker.

Talks are slowed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Matt Kemp, as the Dodgers insist one of the Walker/Paxton combo needs to be included in a deal.

Little has been spoken about a Red Sox trade of Yoenis Cespedes to the Mariners, as speculative proposals of Hisashi Iwakuma for Cespedes straight up may have muddied potential deals.

With Justin Upton of Atlanta, the Braves want young starting pitching and the M’s are hesitant to give up top pitching prospects for one year of Upton.

So here the Mariners sit, discussing Dayan Viciedo once again. USA Today reported on Tuesday that the White Sox are indeed shopping Viciedo.

What would the M’s want with Viciedo?

Sep 3, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo (24) catches a fly ball in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

He is considered a ‘power bat’, as he clubbed 21 home runs in 2014. However, his triple slash over the last three seasons has been .250/.294/.425 with 60 home runs, 84 walks, and most alarmingly 340 strikeouts. His .719 OPS isn’t all that glamorous, though it would stand as the 5th highest OPS on the Mariners roster as currently constructed.

Viciedo made $2.8 million last season and is arbitration eligible again this season. He is under team control for 3 more seasons.

It is clear the Mariners are looking to ‘win now’, and Dayan Viciedo could conceivably add some right-handed power stability to that equation. But if the M’s decide to trade for Viciedo, it needs to be in a deal where they do not give up too much value for a player who, at best, has been worth 0.6 WAR, and at worst was a -1.0 WAR in 2014.

His defense is the chief concern, as he had four errors in the outfield last season and had a number of other plays where his bad path and poor speed allowed for hits and extra bases.

If the Mariners are willing to put a defensive liability in the corner outfield for the sake of power, Viciedo could be a good fit for the Mariners.

But, a team that should be built on defense, speed, and pitching (like it is as of now) because of Safeco Field should be wary of sacrificing defense for 20 home runs.

I think the Mariners should stay away from Dayan Viciedo. I would rather see Brad Miller out in right field than the White Sox outfielder.

Defense and pitching win championships, and with the addition of Nelson Cruz‘s bat at DH, the Mariners can afford getting only a dozen home runs out in right field, if it means the defense is good too.