When the White Sox signed a 19-year-old Dayan Viciedo in December of 2008, questions persisted about his ability to remain at his native third base. Viciedo stayed at the hot corner in his first two professional seasons, but was bumped to right field in 2011. This spring, Viciedo was moved to left, where he's played in his first full major-league season.
But with Brent Morel on the disabled list and Orlando Hudson hitting .183 as a member of the White Sox, some have wondered whether Viciedo could return to third base. Kenny Williams even broached the idea to the White Sox coaching staff, although it wasn't received too positively.
"It was just in conversation and I was shot down in the room pretty quickly," Williams said. "He wasn't as bad over there as people want to think he was. I think in an emergency situation he can go in there."
But that's just an in an emergency. The Sox have Hudson, Eduardo Escobar and Brent Lillibridge on their roster, all with experience at third base. All three of those players would likely enter a game at third over Viciedo.
Three months ago, Viciedo looked lost at the plate. It wasn't until the final week of spring training that he started to hit, although he tailed back off in April, posting a .585 OPS with 18 strikeouts and one walk in the month. But more noticeable was his lack of defensive confidence at his new position.
Williams noted during spring training that Viciedo looked "uncomfortable" in left field, which director of player development Buddy Bell took a step further.
"I'm sure there's a little bit of that, being able to separate your offense and your defense. I don't think there's any question about that," Bell told CSNChicago in March. "It would affect the most veteran of guys, so I would say yeah, it would affect him somewhat."
What Bell was getting at was that Viciedo's defensive issues could very well have been creeping into his offensive approach, leading to an all-around struggle. As Viciedo has looked more and more comfortable in left field, his offense has come around. Since May 2, Viciedo has hit nine home runs with a .829 OPS, right about in line with what was projected out of him prior to the season.
If Viciedo were moved back to third and wasn't comfortable there, it very well could negate the entire argument as to why he should be shifted out of left field. That's the worry, and that's something of which White Sox certainly appear cognizant.
"He's probably be scared to death right now," Williams said. "He's probably best where he is."