By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) The final verdict is still very much up in the air when trying to determine 25-year-old White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo's future in Chicago. His age and the projection of the his ability have been the variables when weighing the Cuban's future, but so far any hypothesis has been a faulty process.
It seems we know less about Viciedo as a quality, everyday ballplayer now than we did after his breakout season of 2012.
Since hitting 25 home runs and driving in 76 runs two years ago, Viciedo has spiraled downward. On defense, he's also regressed to a point where using him at all in late innings appears to be a risk.
"He is not going to win you a Gold Glove in left field," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "If he is hitting well, you kind of take your chances with what you get out there."
"The "Tank" -- as broadcaster Ken Harrelson nicknamed him -- is hitting .232 with 20 home runs and 55 RBIs after Chicago's win against Oakland on Thursday. With Viciedo hitting 13 home runs in 2013, the perplexed White Sox front office has had numerous chances to trade him over the past two seasons but has never pulled the trigger.
The Mariners have been especially persistent in there pursuit of Viciedo.
"I agree with the White Sox in evaluating this player," a longtime AL scout said. "There are very few real power hitters in baseball right now. You really have to get excellent talent back for him if you give up on him now. He would be much better in the role of DH every day. The guy has been below average in the field for his entire career, but this season he has gotten progressively worse. Let him just swing the bat. He could easily be a 30-homer guy every year."
A fly on the wall may have the best information on whether this offseason is the one that the White Sox front office agrees to end the Viciedo experiment. Trading the young and to-this-point-disappointing hitter may be tough to do, but it'd be a logical move to acquire a quality left-handed hitter, which Chicago also needs.
"When things are going well for him and he gets on his hot streaks, you are probably looking at him as a fifth or sixth hitter," Ventura said when asked of Viciedo's future.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.
for more features.