With Eaton in Town, is De Aza on His Way Out?

With Hector Santiago being shipped off to the west coast for outfielder Adam Eaton, we have a bit of a better feel for what the White Sox' 2014 Opening Day roster will look like. With Eaton likely patrolling center field, somebody currently on the roster is going to be on their way out of town sooner or later.

Credit: Brian Kersey, Getty Images via Bleacher Report

Avi Garcia locked into the team's plans, so the three possible options to be moved would appear to be Alejandro De Aza, Dayan Viciedo, and Adam Dunn – in that order. A Dunn deal will probably only happen over the summer if he's hitting well, so I don't want to waste too much of your time on that.

We know that the team's main emphasis this offseason is to improve in the field and on the base paths, where De Aza struggled mightily in 2013. Though he didn't succeed as a leadoff man either last year, I'm sure many teams will find value in his offensive statistics: .264 BA, .728 OPS, 17 HR, 27 2B, 4 3B, 20 SB. I mean, hitting sixth or seventh in a lineup makes that look a ton better than it did leading off last season, even with his 147 strikeouts, which could have been a bit of an anomaly anyway.

So if I'm the GM of another team, I'd be excited about potentially acquiring him for that production and speed coming from a lefty for a couple seasons at a cheap price. And frankly I don't doubt that all he needs is a fresh start to cut out the mistakes in the field and on the base paths.

While that seems like the most likely course of action, I wouldn't rule out the team moving Viciedo. Obviously, 'Tank' is still only 24 years old and could break out at any time. But he'd also net a much better return to the Sox than De Aza. And if that were what happened, De Aza would be in left field every day where he's pretty comfortable, wouldn't have to lead off (Eaton), and would serve as a lefty with pop – something the Sox will be seeking heavily if he's not with the team.

With Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, and Jose Abreu forming the 1B/DH combo, there isn't any space for Tank to join that rotation, and he obviously needs to be an everyday player at this point in his career. Unless De Aza were to take a fourth outfielder role, which I find unlikely given his success over the past couple seasons, one of these two will be dealt.

It's easy to favor De Aza being dealt away over Viciedo, especially since the team likely won't contend in 2014. Tank could take another year to totally figure things out and he'd still fit into the White Sox' plans. I'd say it's 80/20 in favor of De Aza being shipped off, but regardless it's Rick Hahn's decision to make and only time will tell what comes of this situation.

Zachary Gropper

About Zachary Gropper

Zach is the Managing Editor of GrabSomeBench.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @zmgrop.