Xavier Nady Rumors

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.

Texas Has "Strong Interest" In Xavier Nady

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 NadyChris 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.

Padres Looking To Add Offense

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.

Heyman's Latest: Lee, Oswalt, White Sox, Nady

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.

California Notes: Headley, Angels, Weaver

Someone alert Dr. Dre and the Beach Boys, since here's a rundown of news from the Golden State...

  • The Padres are so high on Chase Headley that MLB.com's Corey Brock says the team once turned down a deal with Pittsburgh that would've brought Nate McLouth and Xavier Nady to San Diego.
  • MLB.com's Lyle Spencer reports that the Angels will pay their five regular infielders a total of $8.05MM in 2010 --- or, almost $1MM less than Chone Figgins by himself will make in Seattle.
  • Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles talks to Jeff Weaver, whose minor league contract with the Dodgers allows him to opt out and become a free agent if he doesn't make the club out of spring training.  Weaver said the escape clause allows him to stay out of the minors: "I am here to make this team. If it doesn't work out...then I don't really want to do the Triple-A thing again."
  • As part of a reader mailbag, Jackson said it's unlikely that Jamie McCourt's claim of half-ownership of the Dodgers will hold up in court.  But if it does, then Jackson predicts Frank McCourt "probably will be forced to sell, whether it's to Jamie and the group she allegedly has lined up to buy the club or to someone else."  One would think that if this divorce halves McCourt's fortune as many predict it will, he may have to sell the team regardless of the result of his ex-wife's claim.
  • Scout X (who may or may not be ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski) previews the 2010 season.  One of the more interesting tidbits in the piece is that Scout X would take Matt Cain over Tim Lincecum if he had to choose between the two Giants aces because "Cain pitches with such ease." 

Cubs Sign Xavier Nady

The Cubs officially signed Xavier Nady to a one-year deal worth $3.3MM today. GM Jim Hendry was also considering Reed JohnsonJonny Gomes and Jermaine Dye, but he settled on Nady, who could earn an extra $2MM in incentives tied to games played. 

Nady is coming off his second Tommy John surgery, which is uncharted territory for an established everyday player. The 31-year-old appeared in just seven games in 2009, but he hit 25 homers the year before that, so you can see why the Cubs were intrigued.

Next up for Nady: proving he's healthy enough to deserve a big contract next winter. Next up for his agent, Scott Boras: find a home for Johnny Damon.

ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine first reported that the Cubs were close to adding an outfielder. Yahoo's Tim Brown reported that the deal was official and Jon Heyman of SI.com added the terms of the contract.

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Hudson, Turnbow, Delgado, Nady

Links for Tuesday...

  • Orlando Hudson is "making progress on signing with a team," tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson, however Hudson declined to name the team. In separate tweet, Ladson says a source told him that the Nationals top Hudson's wish list.
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Diamondbacks and Rockies are pursuing Derrick Turnbow, who could sign soon.
  • MLBTR's resident translator Nick Collias passes along this report from Esteban Rivera of the Puerto Rican newspaper Primera Hora, in which Carlos Delgado says that the Mets, Orioles, and Royals "have seen him [play] on the island." Omar Minaya said there is still a mutual interest in bringing Delgado back to New York, tweets ESPN's Jorge Arangure
  • The final offer Scott Boras presented the Yankees with for Xavier Nady was worth $5MM, tweets Joel Sherman of The New York Post. He adds that the Yanks would have considered him at the price he signed for today, and that they'll only do a minor league deal for Rocco Baldelli (via Twitter).
  • Now that Ben Sheets has signed with the A's, Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports.com tweets that the Mets' next target appears to be John Smoltz. A source tells him they haven't aggressively pursued Jon Garland
  • MLB.com's Brian McTaggart mentions that the Astros and Wandy Rodriguez are set to go an arbitration hearing on February 17th. Wandy filed for $7MM, the team $5MM.
  • Meanwhile, Richard Justice of The Houston Chronicle breaks down the Astros' offseason in a video.
  • Rick Ankiel said that the Nationals, Marlins, and Yankees were in it until the end, reports Doug Tucker of The Brownsville Herald.
  • Cody Ross' arbitration hearing has been scheduled for February 15th, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Ross is seeking a $4.45MM salary in 2010, but the Marlins are countering with $4.2MM.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney wrote about baseball's internal discussions on how to fix the draft, including some notes about what was discussed at the recent general managers meeting (sub. req'd).
  • In a mailbag, MLB.com's Kelly Thesier says the Twins payroll appears to be right around $90MM, and they don't seem willing to spend much more than that.    
  • Meanwhile, Lyle Spencer of MLB.com writes in his mailbag that the Angels "appear to have stretched the salary budget to its limit," so don't expect any more major moves.
  • Ken Davidoff of Newsday lists what he thinks are the best run organizations in baseball (sub. req'd). There's 15 of them, however ten are from the AL while just five come from the NL. 
  • John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer looks at the list of remaining free agents, and sees only one fit for the Reds: Orlando Cabrera. He's probably too expensive for them at this point, however. 
  • MLB.com's Marty Noble says in a mailbag that he doesn't believe the Mets' current roster and the Opening Day roster will be the same, but he's not sure where the club can turn to improve.

Cubs Rumors: Calero, Nady, Priorities

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports provide the latest Cubs rumblings...

  • Morosi reported Wednesday that the Cubs were "engaged in negotiations" with free agent reliever Kiko Calero.  However, he now says their interest has waned.  A right-handed setup man is still a primary item on the Cubs' shopping list.
  • Previous reports have connected the Cubs to outfielders Xavier Nady, Jonny Gomes, Rocco Baldelli, and Reed Johnson.  The FOX writers say Nady is the Cubs' top choice unless Dye's contract demands come down.
  • The Cubs seek rotation insurance, but the FOX writers confirm ESPN's Jayson Stark Saturday suggestion that Ben Sheets is unlikely.  Perhaps Mark Mulder, linked to the Cubs Tuesday by Morosi, is more feasible.
  • Though the Cubs have looked into Adam Kennedy and Orlando Hudson, adding a second baseman is not a high priority.

Damon, Yankees Have Been Talking

SATURDAY, 3:12pm: Yanks GM Brian Cashman denies that the club is waiting on Damon before looking into other outfield options, reports Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog.

Additionally, Cashman stressed that the team has "had no discussions on Jermaine Dye" and is "not on Jim Edmonds at all."

2:30pm: In a text to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger, Damon says that he "should have a team in a week" (via Twitter).

1:56pm: Heyman reports (via Twitter) that Damon has "days" to take a "low deal" from the Yankees.  Assuming he says no, the club will sign another outfielder from the group of Reed Johnson, Xavier Nady, Randy Winn, Jim Edmonds, and Jermaine Dye.

FRIDAY, 6:17pm: SI.com's Jon Heyman was on MLB Network's Hot Stove show tonight, and said that the Yankees and Johnny Damon have spoken recently. Here's his exact quote:

"He did meet or talk to the Yankees in the last couple of days. Still doesn't look like a great chance of happening though believe it or not. They are talking, but the Yankees have these budgetary constraints. They've been telling other teams they have about 2 million dollars to spend. I think for Damon they would probably go over that. I mean this is a guy who's had 100 runs scored 9 times and 24 home runs.  Terrific player, but I would still say more likely Braves or Tigers, at this point."

Two days ago we heard from former Yankee Jerry Hairston Jr. that the team never made him an offer because they're "waiting on Damon's price to come down," however GM Brian Cashman shot that report down.

It's certainly getting late in the offseason, however just for a frame of reference, Bobby Abreu didn't sign with the Angels until February 12th of last season. Damon might have a little more waiting to do.

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