The Cubs Sign Their X-Factor

UPDATE: Heyman tweets that it's for $3.3M with $2M in incentives based on games played.

Tim Brown of Yahoo breaks the story that the Cubs have signed outfielder Xavier Nady on a one year deal...dollar amount yet to be determined (likely in the 3-4.5M range according to Levine). Out of the names mentioned so far - Jermaine Dye, Rocco Baldelli, and Johnny Gomes, Nady was probably my preference on the assumption that he's recovered fully from his second Tommy John Surgery. According to Tim Brown, the physical is later this week but Nady's been throwing regularly and without problems. Before we get into the player, let's talk about the injury. Dr. Hecht in the comments dropped this note about having multiple TJ surgeries yesterday.

The basic operation takes a tendon graft from the forearm from a small tendon called the palmaris longus.

On a second surgery they have to take a graft from somewhere else. Other sites are available (the other arm or a tendon from the calf (plantaris) but that means he's gonna have two limbs involved to recovery. I'm not sure why his graft failed but it's pretty unusual for this to happen (expecially when it's not a pitcher). This would make me a bit leary too (Chad Fox alert!) but my guess is he'll be OK.

New York Yankees Spring Training in Tampa

As for the player, Nady is best in right and left field, but has played 82 games at first base, 45 in center field and even 3 games at third base. Chances are he'll stick to right, left and occasionaly first base  and likely send Micah Hoffpauir to Triple A with Sam Fuld getting the roster spot as 5th outfielder and back-up center fielder although a poor showing in spring training or extremely strong one by Hoffpauir could change that.

Nady has a lifetime 108 OPS+ (.792), .342 woBA and is 31 years old. His walk rate of 5.8% per plate appearance is pretty poor and a 19.9% K rate isn't too great either. The projection systems on his Fangraphs page all peg him in the high 700 to low 800's in OPS. His main duty will be as platoon partner to Kosuke Fukudome and his 3-year splits are:

vs LHP: 278/358/454 812 in 227 AB's

vs RHP: 297/340/504 844 in 787 AB's

227 AB's isn't much to draw any firm conclusions upon, but it does appear that he's someone who you won't have to waste 2 players on in late-inning lineup juggling as he seems to handle righties just fine. His other main duty will be as pinch hitter where he's had all of 58 PA's for a 255/397/426 slash line. I assume if all goes right, he'd also be one of the candidates to DH in interleague games when that time comes.

Assuming Nady passes his physical and can make the throw from right field still, I think you have to like this signing. The Cubs aren't likely to get the player that tore it up for the Pittsburgh Pirates to start the 2008 season and ended with 25 HR's and 97 RBI's after being traded to the New York Yankess. But he's definitely shown enough with the bat that he should do more good than harm if he can handle not getting regular at-bats. And if something should happen to Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, Lee or even Ramirez I suppose, the Cubs will have a very solid replacement ready to step in on a regular basis.

Bonus News: Ben Sheets signs with the Oakland A's for one year/$8M and Cubs showing interest in Chan-Ho Park.


X-cellent move.

I like the signing, until I see how much and how long.

I wonder if Colvin will get a shot to battle for the 5th outfielder job. I don't think spending a year an AAA is going to make him a legitimate corner outfielder with the bat.

That's what came to mind right away, too, that Fuld and Colvin probably battle it out for the 5th OF spot.

I like the Nady move a lot, as long as he can stay healthy. But I wonder how much TJ surgery on your right elbow affects the hitting power of a right handed hitter short term. Does it take a full year to rebuild the strength, like a pitcher?

I think Colvin will be moved at this point.

Colvin for a mediocre bullpen rental? Awesome.

per Bruce Levine chat...

It's a one-year deal for somewhere between $3 million and $4.5 million. We'll know more when the doctors have seen Nady.

I was just about to post that. $3 million is really the max I like this deal at. As I said yesterday, Hudson pushing Baker to the Fukudome platoon mate role makes more sense, assuming he could be signed for $5 million or so.

on the topic of another Cub acquisiton from Levine chat...

I think the Cubs are out of money at this point. Any other deals would have to be trades.

...Jim Hendry will turn his attention to solidifying the bullpen. I've mentioned their interest in Luke Gregerson of the Padres and Jason Frasor of the Blue Jays. The Padres deal would seem to be more realistic at this point.

coincidence that this happens just after we hear Sheets to A's?

Heyman is saying 1/10M for Sheets plus performance bonuses fwiw...

yow...nice base.

Slick gamble by the A's, though. If he stays healthy they can either deal him for a couple of decent prospects at the deadline or offer arbitration and get two picks when he walks. And pitching half his games with that huge outfield and foul territory, and a fleet of speedy go-get-em outfielders, his numbers could be very good.

"Slick gamble" is one way of saying it. Another way would be "a risky way to spend $10 million dollars". He hasn't pitched for a year. Supposing he recovers somewhat and can actually pitch games, will he be effective? Better yet: can he stay healthy? He has a long history of not staying healthy.

I'm glad the Cubs passed on this one. I would have gave him 1 year, $3-4 mil, plus incentives.

I'm with you, Ryno. As much as I like Sheets, $10 million seems crazy.

True, IF Sheets is pitching well the A's can potentially get back some prospects in a trade. It's also true that if he walks at the end of 2010, the A's can possibly get a couple of draft picks. However, what if he's ineffective? What if he gets injured? There's too much of a down side to this deal in my opinion.

I could somewhat understand a high risk/high reward deal like this from a team that can afford it, but it really surprises me that it is the A's that are taking the gamble.

great, the A's can draft more millions-dollars slow, lumbering, no-hit guys who can manage 60-80 walks if they're lucky enough to make it out of AAA.

at least they can draft pitching...

The A's probably know it's a long shot for them to contend this year. They've got money to burn for once, and there's no other player out there that has Sheets' upside. If they're both good, they'll make a run with him. If he's good but they're not, they can trade him for great prospects. It's a calculated risk, but when you're the A's, you've gotta look for any edge you can get.

Agreed. Nothing to lose for the A's. They'll chase Seattle and LA in their division, maybe TX. So even the wild card seems unlikely. Good trade opportunity come June or July. I'd be surprised if the A's actually pay the full 2010 salary.

Nothing to lose for the A's

...except $10 million or about 1/7 of their 2010 payroll.

If Sheets can have a good year, then Oakland may get some prospects at the trade deadline. If he sucks or gets injured, they just crapped away $10 million.

Crapping away millions can be said about any player on any team if they get hurt.

Or it can be a reference to Jim Hendry that also brings up disturbing images.

Crapping away millions can be said about any player on any team if they get hurt

True, but $10 million per year is still an above average contract and Ben Sheets is an above average injury risk...

...not to mention that Oakland is a below average payroll team.

A healthy Ben Sheets is worth roughly $15 to $25 million depending on your valuation system of choice.

TRN -- I don't disagree, but is it smart for a team like Oakland with roughly a $70 million payroll to spend $10 million on a pitcher with a long track record of injuries?

IF Sheets stays healthy and IF he pitches well, Oakland might be able to get some prospects for him mid-season. But if he sucks and/or gets injured, Oakland just spent a huge chunk of their payroll on a hope and a prayer.

I don't think this would have been a particularly good signing for anyone, but it's especially bad for a lower payroll team like Oakland.

A big part of the signing depends on whether or not you think Oakland can contend next year. I think that they can, and with Sheets at the head of their rotation it could be the second best in the AL. Their team as of right now looks at least as good as the '09 Mariners did at the start of the season, and they were able boost fan excitement and turn an inferior pitcher (Washburn) into prospects.

I am surprised the Mets didn't sign him though, as he seemed like a better fit there.

Think of it this way.

Ted Lilly is scheduled to make 10 million this year, and he may or may not be healthy.

Pitchers are always a risk. I'd wager that Sheets pitches more innings in 2010 than Ted Lilly.

Just to be clear, I understand that pitchers are always an injury risk, but this is different. This is paying a guy who has a long history of being fragile and who just missed an entire year $10 million. Would you be happy with Hendry if he signed Lilly for this year if he had missed all of last year? Actually, considering the difference in payrolls between the Cubs and A's, the Cubs would have to pay Lilly $20 million.

I understand the risk from the A's perspective. They have a young team with TONS of young talent.(especially pitching)

Sheets can front that staff and they can make a playoff run. If he stays healty the A's can offer arbitration and go year to year with Sheets from here on out.

The cubs should do the same thing with Ted Lilly if he returns healthy from his shoulder surgery.

What's the bet? I am in.

5 virtual dollars.

If TCR did a poll, this would be a good one to do. Neither guy will hit 200 innings. My guess would be Sheets in the 175 range and Lilly in the 130-150 range.

Sheets has hit that once in 5 seasons. I'd take those numbers and reverse them. Lilly-175, Sheets-130

I doubt that they'll be able to get Type A compensation for him, since he didn't pitch in '09.

Good point. I'm sure they have the formula they can refer to and get an educated guess before they signed him. If he's healthy and likely to be a Type B, they probably try to move him at the deadline. I'd rather do that anyway if I were the GM to have more control over what prospects I get, rather than the crap shoot of the draft.

Not to mention you save $4 to $6 million.

one more name Levine mentions...

Q: How about a backup 3rd baseman in Chad Tracy? I know he's a FA.

Bruce Levine
You must have a pretty good source. I've heard that deal is very realistic. It may happen this week.

Q: Just to clarify, you are saying that the Cubs might be signing Chad Tracy as a 3rd Base backup? I thought Baker was going to be that for them and that they had no more money to spend?

Bruce Levine
Think left-handed. Also think about the fact if they do sign him, it most likely will be a minor-league contract. Also if he replaces a guy like Hoffpauir, you will not have to spend the money you'd put forward toward his contract.

Thought this was pretty funny. I just looked up Chad Tracy on Baseball Reference and the player it says he's most similar to? Xavier Nady

apparently the minor league deal will go down tomorrow

I like the deal. Good platoon bat and Outfield insurance.

Well done Jimbo!

Heyman has the contract numbers, updated in the post

I hope the performance bonuses are pretty high. Too bad Hoffpauir will get the boot back to Iowa.

Wouldn't Soriano likely be the DH with Nady in LF?

I'm sure they'll just rotate it to give some guys some days off and also depend if a lefty or righty is pitching. But I assume Nady would get the bulk of the extra work, whether he's actually the DH or not.

What makes you or anyone else think that Nady is a better LF'er than Soriano? From everything I've looked at, Nady is a terrible outfielder. Then consider his arm fell off twice and his legs have given out. I don't understand the love for this deal. It's just another case of Hendry rolling the dice. All we can do is hope it works out.

But seriously, WHAT is Hendry thinking? I thought the idea was to move Fukudome to RF to improve the Cubs defensively. Okay, so how does a Fukudome/Nady platoon do that if Nady gets 1/3 of the starts??

From everything I've looked at, Nady is a terrible outfielder.

you should look around more

seems he's about average for a corner outfielder and 1/3 of the starts to Nady isn't going to be much of an impact either way over Hoff and Fox playing out there. If there's improvement in the outfield, it'll be Soriano not sucking as much, but mostly Fukudome out of center field in favor of Byrd and Fukudome being a bigger asset in right over Bradley.

i wouldn't count on a straight platoon, but since the guy has the most pop on the bench you should probably count on 300+ ab's out of him in mixed use.

Ohhh so Milton Bradley amount of AB's. And you say Milton isn't a 4th OFer masquerading as a starter. LoL.


Can you list the # of 4th outfielders who got named to the All-Star Team?

nevermind the 500-ish PA's the past 2 seasons...or that talking about a platoon based on being signed to be a platoon/bench guy isn't the same as a starter who isn't going to be used in a platoon.


Umm... when was Fukudome a 4th OFer?

I don't know how seriously to take anything from Levine, considering he just said this in his chat:

"I'd put my money on Theriot being the starting 2b on Opening Day, with a good shot for Castro to make the team out of spring training."

If he's putting his money on that scenario, I certainly hope he's getting at least 50-1 odds.

riot will be playing a lot of 2nd this spring, but that's a stretch.

I am thinking he made a mistake. It happens. I have not heard him remark this at any point for 2010 -Next year, sure. But...

Too bad Cubs can't Yadaier Molina, then play Nady in center when Zambrano pitched. XYZ

The Cubs do have a guy called Ynavoeg Otos, according to our former broadcaster.

on minor league deal...

Nady deal pending physical which will not be a formality, Miles seems to suggest they haven't even seen him throw yet. Chan Ho Park is too pricey(Cubs have about $2M to spend if Nady deal goes through)

Cardinals sign Rich Hill and invite him to spring training

If Duncan can figure him out that could be one of the top bargains of the year.

But if Duncan can't get inside his head, I'll have to say Hill is done. Well, he kind of already was done, but you know what I mean.

First Todd Wellemeyer. Now Rich Hill?

Why can't the Cardinals fix some other team's castaway pitchers? Like Toronto.

: )

I didn't think the Cardinals got inside players' heads. I thought they injected stuff into their asses.

Bruce Miles helped answer my earlier question about how much TJS affects a hitter's power the first year after the surgery...

"Nady played in only seven games for the Yankees last year before having to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow for the second time in his career. He also had TJS in September of 2001."

So I looked up Nady's 2002 stats. He didn't become a full time big leaguer until 2003, but in 2002 he played 130 games in the minors, hitting 23 hr's and slugged .477.

Not bad at all with his TJS so late in 2001. That makes me feel better about his potential power numbers this year.

Colvin had it after the 2008 season and was pretty much himself in 2009.

The Dodgers signed Ronnie Belliard today for $825,000 plus incentives. Considering that Belliard beat out Orlando Hudson for the starting job in LA last year, can Hudson expect to sign for much more?

The Cubs second base situation is not good. In my mind, it is more of a concern than adding another arm to the bullpen. Hudson would be an upgrade and would make sense if his price is right.

love to know the dirt on Hudson, two years in a row no one wants to pay him despite clearly being an above average second basemen. Must be some serious concerns over his wrist...his defense seems to be slipping a bit too.

Like Pudge and big pharm lobbyists, Hudson heard the money's in Washington.

sign Jon Garland and Matt Stairs...

Can Ron Coomer and Jason Bere be far behind?

This can't be right, the Cubs made an intelligent move?

whoever Frank Piliere is he likes lens flares in his graphics and has the Cubs farm system at 18th.

Link to lens flare madness?

my bad, it's there now

by this guy..

Castro at 11th in all of baseball, Vitters 53, Jackson 72nd

Curious about the craziness of Castro at 11 I clicked the link:

Staton #2
Heyward #4... OK, we're done.

Holy Schneikes! Castro at 11th? Seems a little too high to me without potential for an extremely high OBP, power, or steals. Is his defense Vizquel-esque?


even scouts aren't perfect...what a hacky list.


that's some quality flare!

started putting that page together and found a prelimanry 2010 ranking that has Cubs in the 16-25 range.

and very obscure Washburn/Cubs talk

The Cubs and Mets were among the teams that scouted Sheets' recent throwing session, and both remain in the market for starting pitching. It's not clear if they have interest in Washburn -- or he in them -- but one source with knowledge of the left-hander's market said a total of six teams have inquired.

awesome...lefty power hitting corner IF.

eating healthy sucks ass! im always hungry! o well hope all is better than i am. starving

tell your parents u love em every once In awhile! lifes prescious


I was right next to Wells on the field this past year working at Wrigley for a day. He is certainly not overweight as far as I can see.

maybe the tweet was from David Wells?

Why do the Cubs insist on wasting a roster spot on a 7th reliever? Said reliever, no matter who it is, does not make a meaningful contribution to the team, it's a pure mop-up job and a total waste. That spot would be much better used on a bench player, and that way you could still get value out of Hoffpauir.

Nady, Hoffpauir, Fuld, Fontenot, Blanco, Hill. That gives you a lefty and righty power bat off your bench, three strong defenders, one guy with speed, lefty/righty balance, 2 or 3-deep coverage at all positions.

Explain to me how a 7th reliever like a Justin Berg or whomever would make a bigger difference over the course of 162 games than would a Hoffpauir or Blanco.

That's an easy one. 7th relievers keep you from overusing 6th relievers, which keep you from overusing 5th relievers, which keep you from etc etc blowing Mark Prior's arm in 127 pitch starts.

I am a firm believer in carrying the extra pitcher, but for the first half of the year or so, carrying the extra bench makes more sense. Simply due to Aramis' injury and Lee prone to neck spasms at any time. You could be on the west coast trip and he could wake up with neck issues. The 2nd half would require more pitching depth and it would give some of the guys that did not make the team out of ST to work on their roles for the 2nd half of the year. My 25 man roster to start opening day:

1. K. Fukudome
2. R. Theriot
3. D. Lee
4. A. Ramirez
5. A. Soriano
6. M. Byrd
7. G. Soto
8. J. Baker

1. A. Blanco
2. X. Nady
3. S. Fuld
4. M. Fontenot
5. K. Hill
6. M. Hoffpauir

1. C. Zambrano
2. R. Dempster
3. R. Wells
4. T. Gorzelanny
5. S. Marshall
6. E. Caridad
7. C. Marmol
8. A. Guzman
9. J. Grabow
10.C. Silva
11. J. Stevens (assuming a RHP is not added via trade. My guess is a deal around Colvin will be made to add another RHP for the bullpen which would take this spot)

Castro and Samardzija need to play everyday. Both will start the year in AAA, but will be on the roster by the All-Star break. Two other names that may get a call up and stick would be Rafael Dolis or John Gaub. Gaub would be a luxery, so it would really depend on the durability and performance by Gorzelany and Marshall. Lilly should be recalled around May or early June at which point depending on how much the bullpen has been used, a position player, presumably Fontenot would be optioned.

How can you leave of the awesome Chad Tracy?

There's 5 guys in the minors who would get a call before Dolis.

Dolis is my sleeper for a breakout year.

Submitted by thedirtbag on Wed, 01/27/2010 - 12:30pm.
Dolis is my sleeper for a breakout year.

DIRTBAG: Rafael Dolis is more of a high-risk/high-reward long-term project than the other pitchers on the 40. He has a history of arm problems and control issues, so I would think the Cubs will be conservative with him and move him very slowly. (Dolis gets four minor league options and he's only 21).

I think RHP Thomas Diamond (who came on strong at the end of Instructs and then threw very well in the Mexican Pacific League) and LHP James Russell (who was the #1 lefty reliever in the AFL) are the two most-likely "long-shot" guys to win a spot on the Cubs pitching staff out of Spring training or to get a mid-season call-up. And RHP Andrew Cashner could be ready in short order if the Cubs were to use him as a one-inning reliever, but probably not so soon not if the Cubs continue to develop him as a starter. has this interesting medical tidbit on Tommy John surgery and Nady...

Nady would have to prove he's healthy from the second major elbow surgery of his career. He underwent the procedure in early July, meaning he will be just nine months removed from it by Opening Day. A number of Web sites have lists of baseball players who have gone through Tommy John surgery, a procedure in which a tendon from a different part of the body is used to replace a turn ulnar collateral ligament, but Nady and catcher Vance Wilson are the only position players listed as having the surgery twice.

Wilson had his procedures back-to-back in the summers of 2007 and '08. He signed a Minor League contract with the Royals for '09 and batted .270 in 59 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Wilson didn't play his first game in '09 until June 19 and caught only 18 games, appearing mostly as a designated hitter.

here's the Wiki list of ballplayers with TJ surgery including those with repeat surgery. There are only three with three-peats...Chad Fox, Jose Rijo and the immortal Matt Riley

Seems like these Wikipedia lists are not all enclusive. Here's another list of non-pitchers who have had TJ surgery (note, Vance Wilson not on it):

Roberto Alomar
Rocco Baldelli
Jay Buhner
José Canseco (the injury was caused during a pitching appearance)
Luis Gonzalez
Rusty Greer
José Guillén
J.R. House
Todd Hundley
César Izturis
Trey Lunsford
Kelly Johnson
Carlos Martínez
Xavier Nady (twice)
Ray Olmedo
Luke Scott
Taylor Teagarden
Tony Womack

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  • j.buchanan with a nice start...5ip 2h 1bb 3k, 0r/er

    zobrist with 2HR and a double through 8

    heyward 0-4 :(

    crunch 5 hours 56 min ago view
  • Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales

    Soler likely to return Sunday, Maddon says

    crunch 8 hours 33 min ago view
  • Right now, I'd like to see the Mets first, Giants 2nd.

    I believe that since most of the team from last years' NLCS is on the squad this year, they will really amp their game up even more to kick their ass in payback for 2015.

    The Giants just do not have the depth in years past, and I think all things equal - and at Wrigley - they could handle them.

    I do not want to see the Cards, period. Or their fans, media, or Joe Buck.

    The E-Man 8 hours 53 min ago view
  • I don't want to play Braves in the first round. Any friggin team in the league can win 3 of 5..I hate the first round. Furthermore, I wanted to play the Marlins in 2003 and the Mets over Dodgers last year.

    With that said in reverse order:
    3. Cardinals: It will be devastating to lose in the first round, but even worse to their main rival. It is increased incentive for the Cardinals, especially after last year. Cards would have nothing to lose, Cubs have everything to lose.

    2. Giants: Rotation in the playoffs scare me a bit, but what a lousy team.

    blockhead25 9 hours 36 min ago view
  • 1. Mets--because of the losses in the rotation
    2. Giants--because they're not the team they were BUT they maybe have bullshit even-year magic?
    3. Cardinals--because rivalry and not making the playoffs hurts them more than losing in the NLDS plus getting eliminated by them in the playoffs would make for horrible sports commentary next throughout next season.

    Charlie 11 hours 19 min ago view
  • Who's asking?

    jacos 11 hours 21 min ago view
  • #TeamEntropy

    CLE/DET rained out last night already, possible rain-outs in New York (vs. Baltimore), Boston(vs. Toronto) and Philly(vs. Mets) this weekend too.

    Not only games involving playoff spots that would need to be played, but any that involve home field advantage.

    Rob G. 11 hours 30 min ago view
  • I got the first one! Second one I'm not even sure what even/odd betting is.

    johann 12 hours 17 min ago view
  • any opponent preference for NLDS?

    Mets are down to 1 great pitcher instead of 4. Syndegaard may pitch Sunday which means if Mets win the WC game, he'd be set up for Game 1. There's a chance they clinch a spot by Sunday so he'd pitch the WC and then we'd probably get Colon for Game 1. They've certainly had the hottest bats over the last week and month out of the WC options.

    Rob G. 12 hours 39 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 17 hours 42 min ago view
  • Can't teach height and thinness

    jacos 19 hours 38 min ago view
  • Hopefully Pirates don't call up A. Lincoln.

    jacos 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • j.buchanan going friday...should something like it.

    crunch 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • Wow. I didn't know they could do that.

    Nice for Willson, not so much for Addy.

    billybucks 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • Game is officially called...also officially a tie.

    Stats count, no make-up date of course.


    Rob G. 1 day 5 hours ago view
  • Yeah -- seeing the weather -- I hope KB and Rizz are inside, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate.

    billybucks 1 day 6 hours ago view