When the Yankees take the field in Game Six of the World Series tonight, their Opening Day right fielder won't be joining them. Instead, Xavier Nady will be sitting in the dugout, unable to play because of an elbow injury that ended his season in April.
The former Padres' second-round pick came to the plate just 29 times this year before hearing a pop in his throwing elbow. Nady hoped to avoid surgery and went with the rehab approach instead, but he blew out his elbow for good in a late-June rehab game. He underwent his second Tommy John surgery soon thereafter.
Elbow ligament replacement surgery can shelve a pitcher for 12-18 months, but position players could return within 6-9 months. Shin-Soo Choo, for example, underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2007 and was back in the outfield for Cleveland in May of 2008. However, because this is Nady's second time having the procedure, there could be unforseen complications.
Despite missing just about the entire 2009 season, Nady still projects to qualify as a Type-B free agent. He made $6.55MM in his final year of arbitration eligibility this year, and Scott Boras usually takes his clients to free agency. Several teams are going to be looking for right handed pop, including the Braves, so if Nady's elbow is sound there figures to be plenty of suitors.
Of course, any deal would be dependent on his elbow checking out. Assuming it does, what kind of contract do you think Nady could receive this offseason? He's hit .289/.342/.480 over the last four seasons (over 1,600 plate appearances), and will turn 31 in a little over a week. Can he get two or three guaranteed years in a market light on power hitting corner outfielders beyond Matt Holliday and Jason Bay?