It's not fair to blame last year's 99-loss showing on one player, but Dayan Viciedo is as good of an individual case as any when sifting through the rubble.
Expected to take off after hitting 25 homers and driving in 78 runs in 2012, the White Sox' 24-year-old left fielder had trouble staying healthy and went decidedly backwards.
"I try to have great at-bats," Viciedo said through an interpreter last season. "I try to have the right mentality, which is the most important thing when I'm out on the field."
In his second full season with the Sox, Viciedo's great at-bats were few and far between.
While the 5-foot-11, 240-pounder raised his average from .255 to .265, his home run total fell from 25 to 14 and his RBI count dipped from 78 to 56.
Strikeouts (98 in 441 at-bats) were another problem.
In fairness to Viciedo, he missed nearly a month early in the season with an oblique strain and was frequently held out of the lineup toward the end of the year with a thumb injury.
"Anytime you're injured you change things and you adapt to what feels good," manager Robin Ventura said late last season. "Sometimes that's not what the actual mechanics of it are going to allow you to do. (Viciedo) had a lot of those this year where he's had a lot of nagging things. That's part of going through 162 games. It's difficult."
As he eases into spring training, Viciedo is still the White Sox' No. 1 left fielder and he avoided salary arbitration in January after agreeing to a one-year, $2.8 million contract.
But Viciedo appears to be competing for playing time with Alejandro De Aza, who lost his starting spot in center field to newcomer Adam Eaton.
De Aza also avoided arbitration in January, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25 million deal.
After acquiring Eaton in a three-way December trade that sent versatile left-handed pitcher Hector Santiago to the Angels, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said a platoon in left field with Viciedo and De Aza was a possibility.
And it could work. Viciedo bats right handed and De Aza is one of the few Sox hitters who swings from the left side.
De Aza did establish career highs in home runs (17) and RBI (62) batting exclusively out of the leadoff spot last season, but the 28-year-old outfielder also struck out a career-high 147 times and was a liability running the bases and playing defense.
If a trade goes down, De Aza is the likely man out.
"Adam as the center fielder for the next several years is the plan right now," Hahn said during the off-season. "With De Aza and Viciedo, we have the option of obviously keeping them both and letting Robin play matchups or we'll likely continue to receive calls on both those players that we've had over the last several weeks."
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