Xavier Nady and Reed Johnson
If Xavier Nady’s 2010 is 85% of Xavier Nady’s 2008, it gives the Cubs a much improved backup at the corner outfield positions and first base. It pushes Micah Hoffpauir off the team, but Micah had really pushed himself off the team with his 2009 struggles.
The concerns are
- everyone’s been very careful to say Nady MAY be ready to start the season, and may not be.
- the 2008 season might have been fluke
OBP SLG 2005 321 439 (Padres) 2006 337 453 (Mets/Pirates - of course the SLG is going up) 2007 330 476 (Pirates) 2008 357 510 (Pirates/Yankees)
The 25 point jump in OBP would be great if he could sustain it, but a good portion of that seems to be BABIP increases that aren’t likely to be kept. And the big leap in power is a bit amazing and probably not going to stay that way.
It’s a bit of a risk/reward play, but this team needs to take some risks and have them work out if they’re going to be competitive this year. If he doesn’t come all the way back, he’s either an average backup outfielder or someone who can easily be pushed aside for a Colvin or Hoffpauir or someone else. If Nady can hit like 2008, the Cubs have a great option for when the starting outfielders inevitably go cold.
Signing Nady officially ended Reed Johnson’s time with the Cubs. It’s no surprise, and seemed to be headed that way at the end of the season. His teammates all love him, but he’s 33 and breaking down physically. Aside the foot injury that kept him out most of has last season, he’s got back issues and all sorts of other minor issues from a career of running out every ball and getting hit by many pitches. Reed can still hit lefties if he’s healthy, but the Cubs were hampered by too many people being question marks each day (Milton being gone helps here) and they have a lot of younger/cheaper options.
Reed will probably be okay for the Dodgers; he’ll be able to handle the pinch hitting/defensive replacement/occasional starter role. He probably just isn’t a good bet for the 300 PA spot that Nady’s filling for the Cubs.
Still wish the Cubs would get an actual backup option for 3rd (or a better option for 2B, but that seems unlikely.) It does sound like they’re out of money and will have to get lucky on an NRI panning out, so this team is pretty much set:
3B A Ram
SP Lilly (DL)
with Castro and a whole host of pitchers looming as possibilities to steal a spot.