White Sox sign Cuban infielder Viciedo

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox agreed to a $10 million,
four-year contract Friday with Cuban infielder Dayan Viciedo.

Viciedo will receive a $4 million signing bonus and be paid $1
million in 2009, $1.25 million in 2010 and 2011 and $2.5 million in
2012. He will join a team that already has two Cuban players in
Alexei Ramirez and Jose Contreras.

The 19-year-old Viciedo played three seasons with Villa Clara in
the Cuban League, batting .296 with 32 home runs and 123 RBI in 233

He is expected to compete for playing time at third base with
Josh Fields and perhaps Wilson Betemit, who was acquired in a trade
with the Yankees and agreed to a $1.3 million, one-year deal
Thursday. Joe Crede is a free agent, but the White Sox are not
expected to re-sign him.

"My best defensive position is third base. It's the position
I've always played and the position I feel most comfortable in,"
Viciedo said through a translator during a conference call.

But Viciedo said he also would be willing to try the outfield,
if that's what the White Sox needed.

The White Sox would like Viciedo to drop some weight before
spring training starts in February. He said he currently tips the
scales at 246 pounds and plans on being down to 230.

"I don't have any doubt that I can get there," he said.

The White Sox freed up dollars in a couple of trades, sending
Nick Swisher to the Yankees in the Betemit deal and shipping
right-hander Javier Vazquez to the Braves for prospects.

Whether Viciedo starts the season with the major league team or
in the minors could depend on how well he plays in spring training
and how quickly he gets acclimated to new surroundings at such a
young age.

He said Ramirez's success was a motivation for him and the two
would start working out together in Florida before spring training.

Ramirez batted .290 with 21 homers, including a major league
rookie-record four grand slams, and 77 RBIs. He finished second in
the AL Rookie of the Year balloting to Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria.

"Cuban baseball I feel is good baseball," Viciedo said. "With
what he did, I feel I can also be successful."

The White Sox also agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder
DeWayne Wise for $550,000 and avoided arbitration. Wise batted .248
with six homers and 18 RBIs in 57 games last season, his first with
the White Sox after signing as a minor league free agent March 5.