Peter Abraham is reporting that Xavier Nady has reported to the Yankee Scranton Wilkes Barres AAA affiliate, bringing him one step closer to returning to the team. All indications are they won’t call him up unless he is able to play the field, but he has already been making throws in rehab, so the minor league stint is really simply to get his bat going. Figure he comes back in 2-3 weeks, in which case they’ll likely wait until after the All Star break. No point calling him up and then telling him to take 4 days off right away.
But Nady creates an issue we all wondered about in Spring Training, that was solved by his injury. When and where does he play? I guess we should welcome Nady, considering that he’s an obvious upgrade over who he’d be replacing on the roster at that point (Berroa/Ransom). But I just don’t see how a corner OF/DH fits this team in any way or will get much playing time.
We already have 5 outfielders in Gardner, Damon, Swisher, Cabrera and (sort of) Matsui. You really can’t carry a 6th without being shorthanded somewhere else on the team. We’re already not going to have a ton of AB’s for Matsui if we’re DHing Alex once a week and Posada 1-2 times per week. So are Nady and Matsui supposed to split 3 games per week?
Do we send down Gardner? I don’t think so. He’s our best defensive Centerfielder in terms of range, Girardi loves using him as a late inning weapon on the basepaths, and he has thrived recently in May and June with the bat to the point where he’s once again challenging Melky for the starting CF job.
Fitzcarraldo trailer I think Nady will at best be a LF, I don’t see them asking him to make long throws from RF with that elbow hanging by a thread. Do we DH Damon to play Nady? Possibly, Damon is always banged up and has been brutal recently in the field. That would mean sitting Matsui, but looking at Hideki’s numbers vs Lefties The Hunger on dvd this year, it wouldn’t be much of a loss. I suspect this will be the arrangement when we face a lefthander.
Another thing to consider, Nady’s career avg #’s would be a step down from any of our starting 9 except Melky, and his career .792 OPS is a step down from Matsui’s .820 OPS this season. So playing him everyday doesn’t make much sense on this team. He’s an adequate defender when healthy, not significantly better or worse than Swisher or Damon in terms of range, though Swisher has a far superior arm. So there isn’t a big improvement in run prevention to factor in by playing Nady over those guys. If anything, his career OPS is similar to what Melky has done so far this season (.775) and the Melk man is a far superior fielder by any measure. Nady hit Lefties better than Righties in 08, but that year was an anomaly for him. His career batting splits suggest that he is far better (.854 OPS) facing Lefthanders.
Looks like a Righty/Lefty DH platoon, where Nady plays Left field and Damon will DH to get a half day off. Unless of course, someone gets hurt.
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