Xavier Nady Rumors

Six Teams Interested In Derrek Lee

The Orioles, Athletics, Blue Jays, Padres, Nationals, and Diamondbacks have all expressed interest in free agent first baseman Derrek Lee according to SI.com's Jon Heyman (via Twitter). We've heard that Lee wouldn't mind playing for Arizona, and the interest from the O's and A's is nothing new. Heyman reiterated the D'Backs interest in Xavier Nady as well.

Lee, 35, had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb after the season. He's expressed a desire to join a playoff club for 2011, but calling any of those six teams a contender would be generous. D'Backs GM Kevin Towers was the Padres GM when Lee broke in with the team in 1997, and the running theme of the offseason has been Towers bringing some of his former players to Arizona. Nady obviously fits the bill as well.

I examined Lee's free agent stock back in October.

Odds & Ends: Young, Francis, Twins, Fielder, Nady

A handful of links to start the final day of the Winter Meetings….

  • The Mets prefer Chris Young to Jeff Francis, and are still trying to sign one of the two veteran starters, says Mike Puma of the New York Post. However, both pitchers are looking for upwards of $4MM for 2011, which is more than the Mets are willing to pay.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Twins are seeking front-end rotation help, such as Carl Pavano. They're also considering moving arms from their back-end surplus, such as Kevin Slowey.
  • The amount of money being spent on free agents this offseason might be making it more obvious to the Brewers that they have little chance of retaining Prince Fielder past next year. As Danny Knobler of CBS Sports writes, that could make Milwaukee more inclined to deal Fielder sooner rather than later.
  • The Diamondbacks are talking to Xavier Nady, according to SI.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports initially linked the D'Backs to Nady on Tuesday.
  • With Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia under contract, the Red Sox are still pursuing another catcher, according to GordonEdes of ESPNBoston.
  • Astros GM Ed Wade says he doesn't intend to acquire a left fielder, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. If the Astros added an outfielder, it would move Carlos Lee to first base and leave Brett Wallace out of the picture, and the club wants to give Wallace a chance to earn the first base job.

Diamondbacks Notes: Reynolds, Blanco, Nady

Some D-Backs news from Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic..

  • The Diamondbacks were discussing a Mark Reynolds swap with the Blue Jays as recently as prior to Thursday night's arbitration deadline.  However, the Orioles have been the most aggressive of any suitor and Piecoro says they seem to be the most likely landing spot for the third baseman.
  • Arizona is in the market for a backup catcher and free agent Henry Blanco is at or near the top of their list.  The 39-year-old hit  just .215/.271/.300 in 144 plate appearances for the Mets last season. 
  • Piecoro writes that Xavier Nady would fit the mold for the D-Backs as they look for a right-handed hitter off of the bench that can play left field and first base.  Nady suffered a down year with the Cubs in 2010 and should come cheap.  The veteran earned $3.3MM off of his one-year deal with Chicago.

Possible Platoon Partners For Domonic Brown

Jayson Werth is days away from free agency, so if the Phillies intend to re-sign their right fielder, they'll have to bid directly against other interested teams. There's a real chance Werth signs elsewhere this winter, so the Phillies are thinking ahead. Manager Charlie Manuel has acknowledged that he may pair Domonic Brown up with a more experienced player who can handle southpaws and play right field.

Brown, just 23, had no trouble hitting minor league pitching this year (.327/.391/.589 line) but he bats from the left side and the Phillies could ease him into the big leagues by limiting his exposure to left-handed pitching. Here are eight outfielders the Phillies may consider as platoon partners for Brown:

  • Jeff Francoeur, 26 years old, non-tender candidate – Frenchy has his faults, but the 26-year-old can handle lefties. He has a .299/.343/.481 line against them in his career.
  • Matt Diaz, 32 years old, non-tender candidate – Diaz has a .335/.373/.533 line against lefties in his career.
  • Juan Rivera, 32 years old, trade candidate – The Angels will have to part with an outfielder if they sign Werth or Carl Crawford. Rivera, who spent most of the 2010 season in left field, has a career .288/.333/.499 line against lefties.
  • Jose Guillen, 34 years old, free agent – He struggled against lefties this year, but boasts a .270/.327/.460 line against them in his career.
  • Xavier Nady, 31 years old, free agent – Nady, who struggled through the 2010 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, has a .297/.367/.451 line against lefties in his career.
  • Andruw Jones, 33, free agent – Jones would likely be able to find more playing time elsewhere, so he's not a natural fit in Philly, but his career (.261/.361/.501) and 2010 (.256/.373/.558) numbers against left-handers must have the Phillies salivating.
  • Milton Bradley, 32, trade candidate – Again, Bradley seems like an unlikely target for the Phillies, but he has a .300/.382/.488 line against left-handers in his career and could be available.
  • Willie Bloomquist, 32, free agent – He has a .272/.334/.366 line against lefties in his career – not much pop, but he's far more versatile than the players above. Bloomquist played all three outfield positions and all four infield positions this year, so Manuel could use him elsewhere if Brown wins the job outright.
  • Austin Kearns, 30, free agent – Kearns has a career .261/.383/.416 line against lefties and may have trouble finding an everyday job.
  • Ben Francisco, 29, on the Phillies – Francisco has a .267/.347/.460 career line against left-handers.

Diaz and Francoeur handle lefties well and can play right field, so they would be good fits for the Phils if they are indeed non-tendered. Rivera, Nady, Bloomquist and Kearns would also be legitimate options and none of the players listed figure to cost more than a few million on a one-year deal, so the Phillies are well-positioned to recover if Werth leaves and they consider alternatives to Francisco. Their biggest challenge will be helping Brown improve upon the .210/.257/.355 line he posted in 70 plate appearances this summer.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Xavier Nady

It's always tough for a player when he hits free agency coming off an injury, but it's even tougher when it's a major injury. That's exactly what happened to Xavier Nady last winter, when he was recovering from his second Tommy John surgery after coming to the plate just 29 times for the Yankees in 2009. 

The Cubs rolled the dice and signed Nady to a one-year deal worth $3.3MM in late January, though incentives based on games started and plate appearances have put another $350K in his pocket this season. Let's break down his stock heading into free agency…

The Pros

  • After a slow start, Nady has rounded into form down the stretch, hitting .317/.351/.423 in his last 131 plate appearances. Not coincidentally, that hot streak almost directly coincides with the trade of Derrek Lee, which is when Nady took the first base job outright.
  • He's now more than a full year away from his surgery and hasn't shown any ill effects. 
  • Nady is versatile, capable of playing first and both outfield corners regularly, as well as third in an emergency.
  • He is not projected to be a Type-A (or even a Type-B) free agent, meaning a team would not have to surrender a draft pick to sign him if the Cubs offered him arbitration after the season. 

The Cons

  • Always known for his ability to mash lefthanded pitching (.298/.369/.455 vs. LHP in his career), Nady has hit just .250/.295/.375 against southpaws this year.
  • He's also striking out more than ever, in exactly 27% of his at-bats, and his power numbers are down as well; Nady's .380 slugging percentage is his lowest since 2003.
  • He hit just .225/.298/.344 in 171 plate appearances before taking over at first base full-time, perhaps suggesting that he needs regular playing time to remain productive. 
  • Nady will turn 32-years-old this November, so he's teetering on the edge of his prime and decline phases.

The Verdict

Despite what shaped up to be the worst season of Nady's career, he still has value as a platoon player that won't fall on his face if pressed into full-time duty. It would appear that staying in the NL makes the most sense, but perhaps the more hitter friendly parks of the AL would benefit Nady the most. There's no reason to think he'll be able to find a multi-year deal or get a considerable raise on the open market, so I would expect him to sign for a contract very similar to what he agreed to last winter. 

Odds & Ends: Rollins, Nady, La Russa, Konerko

Links for Wednesday night, as Kyle Drabek takes a loss in his first major league start….

Odds & Ends: Nady, Orioles, Darvish, Zambrano

Links for Sunday, as the White Sox complete a weekend sweep in Boston….

Cubs May Continue Trading

The Cubs have already traded Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot, but they may not be done yet. Yesterday’s deal could actually be a precursor to more moves in August.

''It's hard to say if it'll be the last one,'' assistant GM Randy Bush told the Chicago Sun-Times. ''Anything that we can do that we feel is to the betterment of the organization we're going to continue to look at.''

Jeff Baker, Kosuke Fukudome and Xavier Nady could be traded this month. Fukudome makes $13.5MM next year, so his contract would clear waivers. Nady, who has just under $1MM remaining on his contract this year, could also be traded. He drew some interest from the Rangers back in July.

Wes Helms On Rangers’ Radar

The Rangers have been connected to Ty Wigginton, Mike Lowell and Jorge Cantu and we can now add a new name to the list of corner infielders they have had interest in: Wes Helms. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers have had interest in Helms, though no deal for him or any other player is imminent. Assistant GM Thad Levine confirmed to Sullivan that the Rangers are looking to add depth around Chris Davis.

"For quite some time, we have been looking for a right-handed complement [at first base]," Levine said. "That hasn't changed as a piece we'd like to add."

The Rangers hope to see Davis translate his minor league success (.958 OPS in Triple A) into major league production. They can’t take on salary, so Levine and others in the Rangers front office are hoping Davis can start hitting.

Helms, 34, has just $390K remaining on his contract before he becomes a free agent. The corner infielder has only played four games at first base since 2008, but he has played 300 games at the position in his career. The Yankees are also interested in Helms, who is hitting .241/.296/.388 this season.

The Rangers do not seem high on Xavier Nady, according to Sullivan. The 31-year-old has many incentives in his contract that could inflate his price, but Nady has not hit well for the Cubs so far in 2010.

Xavier Nady’s Contract Bonuses

Cubs outfielder/first baseman Xavier Nady has $1.36MM remaining in base salary on the contract he signed in January.  Additionally, it's important to look at the $2.05MM worth of bonuses Nady can potentially earn.  MLBTR has obtained the breakdown:

Plate Appearances

  • 300: $125K
  • 350: $250K
  • 400: $250K
  • 450: $275K
  • 500: $300K
  • 525: $175K

Games Started

  • 70: $100K
  • 85: $125K
  • 100: $200K
  • 110: $250K

Nady has tallied 158 plate appearances and 33 starts for the Cubs so far, with a .221/.291/.343 line.  If installed as a regular, it's possible he hits the 300 and 350 benchmarks, and 400 isn't out of the question.  The 70 and 85 games started marks are also within reach.  A maximum of $850K in bonuses must be considered in trade discussions, though I think Nady is likely to end up with $475K or less.

Talking to CSNChicago's Patrick Mooney, Nady said he thinks he could tolerate playing every day, though there might be setbacks depending on how many hard throws are required of his surgically-repaired elbow.  The Rangers, Angels, Yankees, and Padres might make sense, assuming the Cubs send cash to cover most of the contract.