The last time Xavier Nady was in the limelight he was in the midst of career best season, hitting .305/.357/.510 and finishing 2008 with the New York Yankees after a mid-season trade. In July, Nady’s 2009 campaign officially ended after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. Unfortunately for the (in two days) 31-year-old, he enters free agency coming off what amounts to a week full of regular season playing time over the last 12 months.
From 2005-7, Nady hit .274/.330/.457 in 1,338 plate appearances. In 2008, he hit .305/.357/.510 in 607 plate appearances and the Pirates sold high on him to the Yankees. Nady’s gratuitous BABIP inflation faded after the trade – err, I mean he melted under the pressure of the bright lights – and his OPS went from .919 with the Pirates to .794 with the Yanks. A napkin estimation of Nady’s 2010 wOBA probably lands you in the .330-.340 range. Or, average-to-slightly-above.
Any team interested in Nady has to consider what his arm was before the injury and what it will be like afterwards. From 2005-7 Nady posted exactly zero positive arm ratings, and in 2008 he was about a run above average. He won’t make a ton of errors but he also won’t make a ton of difficult grabs either. UZR rates him as an annually slightly below average defender even with a positive 2008 thrown into the mix. Dewan’s Plus/Minus agrees with the slightly below average description.
That makes Nady essentially an average right-handed hitting corner outfielder. Gabe Kapler is somewhat comparable and he signed a one-year, $1.05M deal with the Rays before hitting the open market. Mark Kotsay signed a similar deal but he’s a lefty. He’s not a four-win player like he was in 2008 and teams know this. Factor in the injury and it’s hard to see him making near his $6.5M salary from this season, not that Scott Boras won’t try.
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