The ever-versatile Xavier Nady joins the Cubs on a one-year deal in the team’s attempt to add depth to the outfield and at first base.
The Cubs have been very vocal in their search for a fourth outfielder over the past few weeks. Names such as Jermaine Dye, Jonny Gomes, and Rocco Baldelli have been floating around, but the team has opted to go for the 31-year-old Nady. He joins the Cubs on a one-year deal worth 3.3 million guaranteed.
For being quite productive at the plate and being so very versatile in the field, it’s a surprise that Xavier has been on so many teams in his Major League career. Nady was just fantastic at the plate as recently as 2008. While splitting time between the Yankees and the Pirates, he wound up hitting .305 with 25 home runs and a very nice .867 OPS. The worry is in the fact that he missed virtually all of the 2009 season with “Tommy John” surgery. The Cubs scouts have looked into his health and have deemed him at, or extremely close to 100%.
The Cubs could have done noticeably worse with this move. See: Jermaine Dye. Jermaine has been in a class of his own defensively over the past 4 seasons, and not in a good way. Dye, who will be 36 come opening day, is just horrible in the field. He is on the same level as the Adam Dunn’s of the world. His bat against lefties is his ONLY redeeming factor, and that sole quality is most certainly not worth his asking price of 5-7 million for one season.
Another positive of Nady’s, besides his bat, is his ability to play at an acceptable level in left and right field, not to mention first base. This allows the Cubs to drop some dead-weight in the vein of Micah Hoffpauir, who can await in the minors until the event of a possible injury.
Nady’s role primarily will be platooning with Kosuke Fukudome in right field. With Nady getting the start against any lefty pitchers, this minimizes Fukudome’s problems with them. If done right, this platoon can wind up being one of the more productive right fields in baseball, both offensively and defensively.
Hendry is doing his best to make up for mistakes of the previous off-season, with solid signings of Marlon Byrd and now Nady. The Cubs have much greater depth as they stand now, and need only minor tweaking of the roster to be ready for game 1.
This move is no blockbuster deal, but the Cubs are a noticeably better team as they stand today.