Hahn exploring numerous options at third base
Viciedo likely to stay in outfield; Youkilis remains possible target in free agency
CHICAGO -- Third base continues to be an area of Hot Stove priority for the White Sox and general manager Rick Hahn.
Despite the desire to find an impact player at the hot corner, don't look for left fielder Dayan Viciedo to move back to the position where he started his big league career upon coming to Chicago's South Side from Cuba. Hahn wouldn't go as far as guaranteeing Viciedo's stay in the outfield, where Viciedo played 131 games in 2012, when speaking with media Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field following a collegiate signing day ceremony for 12 members of the organization's Amateur City Elite program.
But it certainly didn't sound like a change was anywhere near imminent.
"I don't want to rule out anything at this point. We are sitting here a week before Thanksgiving, and it's foolish to close off any options," said Hahn of Viciedo, who played 23 games at third for the White Sox in 2010. "I will say that we are exploring a lot of options that we rank ahead of moving Viciedo in from the outfield.
"He's fully capable of playing third base. He's athletic enough to handle it. At the same time, we've moved this kid around a lot and we are asking a lot of him offensively, in terms of the role he plays in our offense going forward.
"At this time, I don't think another move is in his best interest," Hahn said. "It's something to talk about and consider and not rule it out, but we've got other options ahead of that one."
Hahn has made no secret of the White Sox desire to bring back free agent Kevin Youkilis to anchor third base. Youkilis was popular within the organization during his 80-game stint with the White Sox -- for everything from his ability to get on base to his penchant for big hits to his clubhouse presence.
Once he hit free agency, though, interest in Youkilis almost immediately picked up. Much like the White Sox desire to lock down Jake Peavy before he hit the open market, they knew re-signing Youkilis would be tougher once the team no longer held control.
That influx of interest doesn't mean the White Sox have given up hope where Youkilis is concerned, although Hahn wasn't about to make any free-agency prediction.
"Again, I don't want to get in the habit of handicapping these things," Hahn said. "A perfect example is A.J. [Pierzynski] two years ago. I would have been dreadfully wrong when asked to handicap at this point in the offseason in terms of his likelihood to come back.
"This was a point of emphasis with Jake, but we knew once the free-agency period hit, it would become more challenging to sign our guys. It's a rather thin free-agent market at certain spots, starting pitching among them as it would have been for Jake, and third base for Kevin. It's not a shock he's heard from a bunch of teams. It's not a shock he's popular.
"It's going to be a challenge to bring him back," Hahn said. "We continue to have dialogue with him and other options. It's still early, and we'll see where it goes."
Overall, talks since the GM Meetings have been positive, negative, frustrating and exciting, according to a smiling Hahn. He added that there have been some very good conversations that have developed following the GM Meetings, but the bulk of activity might not start until the Winter Meetings in Nashville begin on Dec. 3.
"Teams are starting to zero in on converting some of their options right now," Hahn said. "Things are starting to happen, conversations are getting a bit more substantive and offers are flying back and forth. Something could happen any time."