By Brent Stecker
The Mariners may not be settled with their 2014 lineup after all.
Reports over the weekend linked the Mariners to having interest in White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo, likely fueled by the team's lack of right-handed power bats. According to CBS Chicago's Bruce Levine, who joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" Monday, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has "always liked" Viciedo and talked to the White Sox as recently as 10 days about him.
White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo (left), who Seattle is reportedly interested in, hit 25 home runs in 2012. (AP)
The outfield situation in Seattle is complicated at the moment, with none of Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Corey Hart, Logan Morrison or Abraham Almonte guaranteed an everyday starting spot in the field. The outfield group's defense is a cause for concern, though not as prevalent as the prevailing belief that the lineup is too left-handed. Viciedo could at least help address that problem and provide some pop along the way.
"If he hits to his potential, he's a legit guy that's gonna hit 35-40 home runs if he can follow the plan of hitting the ball where it's pitched," Levine said.
That's no guarantee, however. The 25-year-old Cuban export made a splash in his first full season of 2012 by hitting .255 with 25 home runs and 78 RBIs in 147 games. It was a different story in 2013, though -- he slipped to 14 home runs and 56 RBIs in 124 games (though his average did improve to .265).
Additionally, defense has never been a strong point for the 5-foot-10, 240-pounder.
"Not a great defender. He's got a plus-arm in left field -- that's about it. Not too much range. He really should be a first baseman/DH," Levine said.
If Viciedo turns out to be more of a first base/designated hitter candidate, he might run into a playing time issue in Seattle, as both Hart and Morrison figure to spend time at those positions.
He could also prove to cost the Mariners more than they would like to part with. According to Levine, the White Sox are in the market for a young catcher, which Seattle has in Mike Zunino, but the team is unlikely to part with the former first-round pick along with the additional left-handed bat Chicago may require.