Viciedo plays Sox recruiter for Cuban OFs

CHICAGO – New Chicago White Sox starting right fielder Dayan Viciedo has turned into a recruiter for his club, reaching out to Cuban free agents Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler.

Cespedes, 26, and Soler, 19, are both heavily sought after outfielders who have recently defected. Cespedes, who is expected to make an impact at the major-league level this year, is reportedly seeking a deal in the $50 million range.

Soler is more affordable, but will need seasoning at the minor-league level much like Viciedo did when he signed a four-year $10 million deal with the White Sox in the winter before the 2009 season.

“I have reached out to both of their camps, Soler and Cespedes, and put in a good word and told them how great the organization is and that they would be a good fit if they both came over to join us,” Viciedo said through team translator Jackson Miranda.

So much for the idea that Viciedo has been down on the organization after he was stuck at Triple-A Charlotte for most of the season despite some eye-popping numbers.

“I don’t feel that way,” Viciedo said when asked if he should have been given more of a chance last year. “I feel that wherever they put me, that’s where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “I’ll just do the best I can. I just feel that wasn’t my time, but this year is my time, and I will do my best and take advantage of it.”

Viciedo is being tabbed as the White Sox starting right fielder after Carlos Quentin was traded to the San Diego Padres on New Year’s Eve.

The Quentin deal, as well trades of Sergio Santos and Jason Frasor, were possible signs that the White Sox were making some financial wiggle room for a run at Cespedes and/or Soler.

Viciedo said he acted on his own in recruiting the two outfielders and was not prompted to do so by the White Sox.

“No, it was no phone numbers given to me from the White Sox, it was about me reaching out to my fellow Cubans and wishing the best for them,” Viciedo said. “They aren’t signed and don’t know what way they will go, but I just wanted to give them my advice and tell them how I would like them on our team and what a great fit they would be.”

Now that he is getting a chance to finally start during the fourth and final season of his contract, Viciedo is making sure to not put any extra pressure on himself.

“My expectations are like every year, just work hard every day to go into spring training and be ready to be called upon,” he said. “As far as pressure to match Carlos, I don’t feel any pressure because for the most part I will go out to do what I have trained to and this will be a great year for me.”

Viciedo will make $3.25 million in 2012, but will remain under team control after the season. In that sense there is no contract pressure, and Viciedo sounds like a guy brimming with confidence.

“Really it’s all going to be about the preparation this year starting in spring training and then during the season making adjustments,” Viciedo said. “The pitchers know me and I know the pitchers. We will get to know each other really well this year.”