The international amateur free agency game is a lot more fun than its domisticated big brother is right now. The White Sox appear close to ponying up 11 million dollars and a 40 man roster spot to 19-year-old Cuban defect Dayan Viciedo. If that comes to be, the Sox will have tapped into the same resource that landed them Alexei Ramirez not even a year ago, and Kenny Williams remains one of the most inconsistent general managers in the league.
Viciedo is a 19-year-old third baseman (who also played some right field) who defects after playing at the top Cuban level since age 16. Some have proclaimed him, "The Cuban Babe Ruth", and while that might be a stretch, Viciedo is an interesting prospect nonetheless, and while it is a bit hard to project his performance (and whether the price is justifiable), we can at least discuss the move in pure processes form.
Viciedo would be a top 10 selection in the amateur draft, assuming he grades out as well as recent selections like Mike Moustakas and Josh Vitters. His price is almost four times what Vitters received, but keep in mind; this is on the open market. Moreso, it is only one million less than what Jon Garland made in 2008. Moving forward, is there anyone who would take Garland over Viciedo?
With such, I must applaud the White Sox. Especially for paying the price to acquire Viciedo and amateur talent overall, even while they're seemingly going to trade one of their older bats in order to free up some major league payroll. Some teams would've taken the 11 mil, kept their elders intact and signed another free agent or two and focused only on the now. Thankfully, we aren't talking about Ed Wade or Houston, but instead a sometimes sly, sometimes straight up questionable Kenny Williams.
Whether Viciedo is the next Adrian Beltre or not is irrelevant. Sure, it makes Williams look better if he is, but either way the move is a smart one. Spending money on good amateur talent is a lot smarter than spending money on mediocre veterans.