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Cuban defector Dayan Viciedo signs with White Sox

November 21, 2008 | 11:40 am

Dayan Viciedo

The Chicago White Sox, who are apparently trying to corner the market on Cuban defectors, added another player to their collection this week, agreeing to a major league contract with teenage slugger Dayan Viciedo.

ESPNdeportes.com says the agreement between the club and Viciedo's Miami-based agent Jaime Torres is for four years and $11 million, although other reports place the deal at $10 million. The contract will not be official until Viciedo passes a phyiscal.

Viciedo, 19, reportedly defected by boat to Mexico last spring, eventually making his way to South Florida where he has family. Torres than arranged for Viciedo to acquire Dominican citizenship, which allowed him to begin negotiating with major league teams as a free agent last week. If he had declared for political asylum in the United States, Viciedo would have had to enter the June amateur draft.

As a 15-year-old, Viciedo was named MVP of the World Junior Championships. A year later he became the youngest player ever chosen to the all-star team in Cuba's Series Nacional, the island's top league, during a season in which he batted .337 with 14 homers as a 16-year-old. Primarily used as a third baseman and shortstop for his team in Villa Clara, Viciedo slugged better than .500 in two of his last three Cuban league seasons. He has also pitched and can play the outfield.

The White Sox apparently see Viciedo as their everyday third baseman, replacing Joe Crede, although he could play the outfield if the White Sox succeed in moving veteran right fielder Jermaine Day this winter. However the Chicago Tribune said other major league teams, who originally bid Viciedo's price up, were eventually scared away by reports that the player ballooned from 200 pounds as a 16-year-old to more than 230 today.

If Viciedo makes the White Sox's big-league roster he'll join fellow defectors Jose Contreras, a pitcher, and second baseman Alexei Ramirez, the runnerup in voting for the American League's Rookie of the Year this summer. Both are also represented by Torres, who is also shopping two other Cubans, left-hander Noel Arguellez and shortstop Jose Iglesias, who walked away from Cuba's junior national team at the world championships in Edmonton a few months ago.

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Dayan Viciedo, at a news conference in June. Credit: J. Pat Carter / Associated Press

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