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White Sox have more room to improve; may move Viciedo

SAN DIEGO — The White Sox are about out of money to spend, but they’re not finished doing what they can to imrove, even after they announced the signing of closer David Robertson Wednesday and traded for right-handed starer Jeff Samardzija on Monday night.

Cheaper free agents and trades are avenues where general manager Rick Hahn and his staff can use to get better, perhaps in left field. Dayan Viciedo stands to make about $4.4 million, and could be traded. He has 20-plus home run power, but his defense is a liability and Hahn reiterated Wednesday that he wants to inject more athleticsm into his roster. Viciedo has been of interest to the Seattle Mariners since last summer, and that interest is believed to be intensifying this week.

The Sox acquired lefty Dan Jennings from the Marlins, bolstering their bullpen even more after signing free agents David Robertson and Zach Duke.

“I hope we have more [moves] left,” Hahn said Thursday morning, the last day of the Winter Meetings. “I think there are other areas that we would like to address. “Obviously we’ve had a productive week and we are pleased with what we’ve been able to do over the last several weeks. At the same time, we are going to head back to Chicago, regroup and try to knock off a few more targets on our list. In our opinion, we are not done yet.”

A more athletic outfielder such as free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus, who hit .225 for the Jays last season, has been on the Sox radar in the past and would come at a reasonable price.

“Since the trade deadline in ’13 when we targeted in Avi Garcia and Adam Eaton last offseason, we’ve targeted players who had not only offensive value but defensive value as well who can beat you with their bat as well as their legs and put runs on the board and also keep them off through their good defense,” Hahn said Wednesday. “It’s a matter of trying to find players who are multi-dimensional as opposed to an all or nothing offensive profile and not much defensive value.”

That was Viciedo, who would figure to have trade value because of his power. He hit 25 homers two seasons ago. When Hahn talks about athleticism, he’s talking about players who can run down fly balls.

“Precisely,” he said. “And take the extra base, go from first to third or score from second on a basehit easily. You’ve seen more of that in baseball in recent years, athleticism coming back. And it’s important for us to continue down that trend that we started a couple years ago in getting there.”

The Sox payroll, as it stands today, sits at close to $100 million counting buyouts. There’s not much more wiggle room, Hahn and executive vice president Ken Williams say.

“We do have other needs and we intend to address as many of those needs that we have left through a variety of ways, creative, free agency, trade or whatever comes across but I don’t think any of those needs will be addressed by a single $20 million player,” Hahn said.

The Sox have a nice supply of young pitchers with trade value that Hahn could tap into as well. If another team is willing to absorb all or a good portion of lefthanded starter John Danks’ contract that pays him more than $14 million in each of the next two seasons, that could also create a large chunk of payroll space.

”There is still some potential for smaller moves to make that we’re debating and we’ve talked to other clubs and to free agents, too,” Hahn said. “We like the progress we’ve made but we’re also realistic and know not only do we have a couple of positions of need right now but we can always use the depth on the pitching side to help make us stronger.”