Here is what I wrote about Xavier Nady in my free agent primer at the beginning of the offseason:
“Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter: Xavier Nady. Last year, I correctly predicted that Russell Branyan would be the 2007 version of Carlos Pena–a journeyman guy, who finally gets a chance to start and has a big year.
Nady is that free agent this year. Let a small market team sign him to a one-year deal, let him play 1B/DH and watch him hit 30 home runs.”
I really believed at the time that if Nady got a chance to be a full-time DH or first baseman in 2010, he would have a year much like what Russell Branyan had last year. Now, I don’t think he is going to get that chance.
According to various sources, the Chicago Cubs have signed Nady to a one-year, $3.3 million deal. Nady can also make an additional $2 million in incentives.
Nady played in only seven games for the New York Yankees in 2009 before missing the rest of the season with an elbow injury that resulting in him having his second Tommy John surgery.
The Tommy John surgery was Nady’s second of his career. If Nady is able to come back from a second Tommy John surgery, he would be only the second player to do so.
Catcher Vance Wilson is the only other player to have come back after two successful Tommy John surgeries. Wilson signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals earlier this winter.
The key for Nady will be–and always has been–health. He has only played in 140 plus games just once in his career, but when he is in the lineup, he usually produces.
In his last full season in 2008, Nady hit .305 with 25 home runs, a .355 OBP and knocked in 97 runs with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Yankees. So can Nady produce these number with the Cubs in 2010?
The answer to that question will be based on playing time. Right now, Nady doesn’t have a full-time position with the Cubs. Nady will start the season as a fourth outfielder and right-handed hitter off the bench.
Nady could also find himself in a platoon with Kosuke Fukudome. Nady crushes left-handed pitching (.308/.383/.471 for his career), so he could perhaps spell Fukudome (.242/.343/.324 vs. lefties in his career) against lefties.
While I usually crush Jim Hendry on the moves he makes, I can’t crush him on this one. I like this signing for the Cubs.
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