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Reading Room: Viciedo debate still missing mark

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From my "Dayan Viciedo Waiting" collection.
From my "Dayan Viciedo Waiting" collection.

I held out a glimmer of hope that Dayan Viciedo's midgame removal on Saturday had major-league intentions. The lack of buzz gave it away, because usually such a move is accompanied by beat writers scrambling for a confirmation, but as Mr. T would say, it's fun to pretend.

Unless you're Ozzie Guillen. Then pretending is stupid, and you should stop immediately.

"Are people in Chicago getting tired about talking about Viciedo?" said Guillen, responding to suggestions that the Sox should move infielder Omar Vizquel to make room for Viciedo. "We are going to keep this recording about Viciedo for people in Chicago because sooner or later, they are going to hate Viciedo — at least for a week and talk about how bad Viciedo is and how crazy we are to bring this guy from Cuba."

"But I want to make it clear about those people who want Viciedo here, I want Viciedo here. But the thing is where do I play him?"

In addition to the outfield logjam, Guillen said Vizquel is the Sox's lone true backup shortstop.

"I wish I could play 10 players like a softball game, play him (Viciedo) in the middle of the field, and then we bring him (up)," Guillen said. "If Vizquel leaves, that doesn't do anything good for us having Viciedo here."


Sorry, let me phrase that in the form of paragraphs.


Omar Vizquel isn't the guy to demote. Since Brent Lillibridge is barely even a second baseman these days, yes, Vizquel is the only backup shortstop -- or at least the only other guy Guillen will play there. That's a conversational dead end.

Replace Vizquel with Brent Morel, and you'll get to the heart of the issue. Morel has started just two of the team's past nine games, and a late-inning defensive replacement at one position is a niche product that a struggling 25-man roster can't really afford. Not to mention that he has options. Replacing Morel with Viciedo is a swap of luxuries, the latter more useful than the former.

That's not to say Guillen's answer would be any different, but suggesting that Viciedo replace a structural necessity (in role, at least) creates too much noise, especially when the other (false) premise has more to offer about the underlying thought process.

Guillen is downplaying Viciedo the same way he tried to deflate the Gordon Beckham hype, which does serve a purpose. The problem is that the Sox don't need another savior -- they desperately need offensive competency, especially at DH, where Adam Dunn is hitting .128/.221/.248 since June 1.

That's the bar Viciedo needs to clear, and I have a hunch he could do better than that. Really, he could underperform significantly (.250/.270/.340, for instance) and still render Dunn a highly paid bench ornament.

Framing the Viciedo question in relation to Dunn, and not Vizquel, is the conversation worth having. So when Guillen asks if we're tired about talking about Viciedo, I'm inclined to say yes and no. Knocking down strawmen isn't rewarding, but even after all this time, there's a genuine discussion still to be had, whether or not Viciedo has a healthy thumb.

Speaking of which, once again ... what about Alejandro De Aza?


Christian Marrero Reading Room

In the other roster-shaping news of the day, Phil Humber's turn in the rotation will be skipped. The odd part is that Brett Ballantini says that Humber wasn't made aware that he would be back in after the turn, which is a little odd.

With six days until the trade deadline, I assume Humber is being put on hold in the event that a trade involving a starting pitcher -- say, Edwin Jackson -- is inopportunely timed. Every starter on the 40-man roster is currently on the White Sox, so it's a good way to prevent Doug Davis from being a permanent part of the team's page.

By all accounts, Saturday was a great day for a great guy.

Sunday was a great day for fans of obscure jerseys. J.J. went to the Grinder Bash at U.S. Cellular Field and provides photo evidence of names you might see in the stands at some point. I greatly enjoyed the two variations of Brandon Hynick.

James looks back on the last week of action. "Obstinate" is a good word.

There's a lot to absorb in this one: 1) Adam Dunn is the proud owner of a Lego mosaic of himself, and 2) Alex Rios has built a Millennium Falcon out of Legos, himself.

Which leads me to wonder if: 1) They made their pact while putting together this pretty sweet Queen Anne's Revenge, and 2) if either of them choked on a block while doing so.