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Looking at Xavier Nady

Recently, the opinion has arisen that of the last few moves the Mariners are likely to make this off season, one of them is likely going to be acquiring a right-handed bat – probably an outfielder. There are multiple players out there who fit these constraints, but the name I’ve seen brought up most often has been Xavier Nady.

Nady was a slightly above average hitter from 2005-2008, spending time in San Diego, New York, Pittsburgh, and most recently, the other New York. Over those seasons he put up wOBA’s of .330, .336, .346, and .374, respectively. He missed nearly the entire 2009 season with an elbow injury, so let’s look at 2008, as it’s obviously the real outlier over those 4 seasons. He was 29 during the 2008 season, so one could probably make the argument that he was still maturing and improving during that time, but there are a few red flags in his numbers.

Firstly, his BABIP was high. .337, to be exact, against a league average of .303. Now, it was fairly high at .323 in 2007 as well, but a .14 difference is fairly significant (and you’ll notice that his numbers looked a lot better in 2007 than they did in ’06 or ’05, which also could be a product of a high BABIP). Then, there’s the fact that he played a good portion of his 2008 season at old Yankee Stadium, which, while not as extreme of a hitters park as the new stadium, was still much friendlier to hitters than PNC Park. For reference, Safeco is somewhere in between, and as you know, extremely tough on right-handed hitters. So, it’s a pretty safe assumption that his numbers from 2008 wouldn’t quite translate to Safeco Field.

I’m not pointing this out to imply that we shouldn’t sign Nady just because he’s right-handed, but simply to point out that his only 1+ WAR season came partially at a hitter’s park, and that expecting anything much higher than 1-1.5 WAR from him as a Mariner at Safeco would be unrealistic. And when you consider that he spent virtually the entire 2009 season on the DL, that he’ll probably be looking for at least $4-5 million in 2010, and that he’s a below average defender at every outfield position, worth roughly 1 win, it starts to look more and more like he just isn’t worth it.

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