Xavier Nady Rumors
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.
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...
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Links for Wednesday night, as Kyle Drabek takes a loss in his first major league start....
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reminds us that Jimmy Rollins earned ten-and-five rights last week.
- Xavier Nady isn't sure whether he'll be back in Chicago next year, but he loves the organization and the fans, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
- One person who definitely won't be wearing a Cubs uniform in 2011? Tony La Russa. The Cardinals' skipper ruled out the possibility of managing the Cubs next season, writes Matthew Leach of MLB.com.
- Paul Konerko "deserves to be back here and paid the right way" next year, Gordon Beckham tells MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
Links for Sunday, as the White Sox complete a weekend sweep in Boston....
- Xavier Nady has been doing quite well since the Cubs dealt Derrek Lee to the Braves, writes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- Cal Ripken Jr. told Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun that recently-appointed O's manager Buck Showalter is one of the best baseball guys he has spoken to.
- Javier Lopez tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's not too upset about falling just short of free agency heading into next year.
- There's a chance Rod Barajas remains a Dodger past this season, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
- NPB Tracker, via Twitter, passes on a news item from Sponichi that says the Mets, Rangers, and Rays all watched Yu Darvish pitch this weekend.
- Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders if Carlos Zambrano's impressive performance over the last month means the Cubs may not ditch him after all.
- What does the future hold for the Yankees' "Core Four"? Joel Sherman of the New York Post explores that question in his latest column.
- Tim Wallach's number one goal this winter is landing a major league managerial job, writes Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff lists three "hot names" for potential general manager openings this offseason: Damon Oppenheimer, Kevin Towers, and Logan White.
''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.
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.
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:
- 300: $125K
- 350: $250K
- 400: $250K
- 450: $275K
- 500: $300K
- 525: $175K
- 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.
Now that Justin Smoak is on his way to Seattle, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that the Rangers are looking at Chicago's Xavier Nady. Chris Davis has already been called up from Triple-A to take over first base for Texas, though Davis was sent down in April due to his unimpressive .556 OPS in 53 plate appearances that necessitated Smoak's call-up earlier this season.
Nady, meanwhile, has a line of .233/.305/.361 line in 151 PA for the Cubs as he tries to recover from major elbow surgery last year. Nady is the last man on the depth chart in a crowded Cubs outfield, and has about $1.6MM still owed to him from the one-year deal he signed with Chicago last January. Nady can earn $2.05MM more due to games-played incentives, which the Rangers would also have to take into consideration should they have a more prominent role in mind for the veteran.
If Texas did acquire the right-handed hitting Nady, it would make sense to platoon him with the left-handed hitting Davis (who has a career .671 OPS against lefties). The Rangers were, however, willing to install a rookie as the everyday first baseman when they called up Smoak, so it's reasonable to think that they'd still show some faith in Davis by letting him take some cuts against major league southpaws. Davis had a whopping .958 OPS for Triple-A Oklahoma City so perhaps he's gotten his confidence back.
We already know that rookie GM Jed Hoyer is looking to add some starting pitching to his Padres' team, and now MLB.com's Corey Brock passes along a quote indicating that he's ready to add offense as well."I don't feel like you're ever all set," Hoyer said. "I think we're looking on both sides [pitching and offense]."
Brock says the team is reluctant to part with prospects just like everyone else, but the Padres could realistically shop closer Heath Bell for a package that includes a big league piece and prospects. Bell will be arbitration eligible next season after earning $4MM this year, and might get a little too rich for San Diego's tastes. Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson would then move up a peg in the bullpen pecking order, and the team likely wouldn't miss a beat.
The Padres survive with stellar pitching (MLB best 3.10 ERA) and defense (MLB best 31.5 UZR), though they have obvious offensive shortcomings. Their shortstops have hit just .234/.295/.338, their left fielders .196/.294/.288, and their center fielders .234/.328/.360, so they could have interest in someone like David DeJesus or Xavier Nady. Brock mentions that owner Jeff Moorad will consider adding payroll in order to make a move happen.
Jon Heyman has a new column up at SI.com, so let's dive on in...
- Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt are the two big name pitchers available on the trade market, but their value is very different because of the money owed to them. "At the end of the day," says one AL exec, "I don't think Houston will be able to move the entire (Oswalt) contract and get premium players back."
- Another AL executive noted that Lee has proven that he can be successful in the American League and will fetch two draft picks at the end of the season.
- The Red Sox turned down a straight up Lee for Clay Buchholz offer last year.
- The Yankees are happy with their rotation at the moment, but they plan on putting in a call in the coming days just in case they are "pleasantly surprised" by Seattle's asking price. Oswalt, meanwhile, isn't even on their radar.
- Some wonder if the Dodgers are saving money for a big score, but GM Ned Colletti will be hard pressed to acquire either Lee or Oswalt without ownership approval.
- The Cardinals might not be willing to take on Oswalt's deal with Albert Pujols' free agency rapidly approaching.
- The Mets might not want to give up the prospects to acquire another frontline pitcher, though the Rangers would be able to work Lee's salary into the budget.
- Heyman also goes through and offers some opinion on other teams that could use one of the two aces, including the Reds, Phillies, and Angels.
- Kenny Williams would like to fire Ozzie Guillen according to one person close to the team, but owner Jerry Reinsdorf is too loyal to let it happen.
- A trade of Xavier Nady to open up the Cubs' outfield logjam seems likely.