Should the Pirates trade Xavier Nady?

The Pirates have a barren minor league system, mostly devoid of impact talent. The Major League team has won less than 70 games in three consecutive seasons. The majority of the teamís offense is made up of average players in their prime who will be eligible for free agency in two or three years. General Manager Neal Huntington is new to the organization, with fresh plans to rebuild the farm system. It is obvious that several starters could be on their way out in the next year or so. I would like to examine the pros and cons of dealing each of these players. I will start with Xavier Nady.
Nady was productive in 2007 when he was healthy. However, that was rarely the case. He twice missed significant periods due to injury (despite never going on the disabled list), and was bothered by a hamstring injury for most of the season. The fact that Jim Tracy continued putting him on the field at less than 100% in a lost season was one of the main reasons I wanted to see a new manager for 2008. Despite a potentially serious stomach ailment in spring training, season-long issues with his hamstring and even a fastball to the head on September 3, Nady managed to have the best offensive season of his career. He hit .278/.330/.476 with 20 home runs, and raised his OPS to 1.108 when faced with runners in scoring position and two outs. The latter statistic helped increase his popularity dramatically among Pirate fans. In addition, he appeared to be one of the few players on the team that stayed motivated throughout the season. An argument could definitely be made that Nady was the most valuable Pirate in 2007.
The two candidates that would be most likely to replace Nady if he were dealt are Steve Pearce and Ryan Doumit. We all know the road that Pearce took to the Pirates last season. He began the season in High-A ball, and quickly showed that he did not belong at that level. After putting up a 1.278 OPS in 75 at-bats, he was promoted to Altoona. He spent the majority of the season in Double-A, and kept hitting. He had a .334/.400/.586 line in 290 at-bats, and earned a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis. That did not slow him down, as his OPS was .924 in 122 at-bats with the Indians. Overall, he hit 31 home runs in 487 minor league at-bats on the season. His final stop was Pittsburgh for the month of September. He held his own in the big leagues, hitting .294/.342/.397. The only issue that came up during the season was his lack of power after joining the Pirates. Pearce did not hit a single home run after being called up.
Ryan Doumit put up solid numbers in the minor leagues when he was healthy. He hit .295/.368/.459 in parts of nine minor league seasons, but has managed over 400 at-bats in a year only once at any level. After struggling through an injury plagued 2006 in which he hit only .208/.322/.389 in 149 at-bats with the Pirates, Doumit found himself in Triple-A early in 2007. He quickly took over that level, hitting .415/.493/.717 in 53 at-bats. He returned to Pittsburgh and continued pounding the baseball. In the first 15 games after his recall, Doumit hit .442/.500/.731. He began to cool down after that and eventually was injured. He made only one appearance after August 13, and finished the season with only 252 at-bats. But he enjoyed the most successful season of his career, batting .274/.341/.472. If he can stay healthy for any significant period, Doumit is a decent option in right. His bat would be much more valuable behind the plate, but an .800+ OPS in right field for a rebuilding team is adequate.
Nady turned 29 yesterday and has likely reached his ceiling. It is unlikely that he will ever get much better than he is right now, and his injury history makes a decline very possible. He is not the type of player whom the Pirates should view as important, as he will not be a part of the next competitive Pirate team. Pearce and Doumit are each exactly the type of player that should be playing every day. Both are talented hitters with some pop, but both bring question marks with their potential. Doumit has injury issues and will be 27 next year. Pearce came out of nowhere to an extent last season and will turn 25 in April. It is time to find out if either has a chance to help the team in the future. Huntington should make an aggressive attempt to deal Nady this offseason while his value is high, and let Pearce and Doumit battle for the right field job in 2008.
Final Verdict: Trade


10 Responses to “Should the Pirates trade Xavier Nady?”

  1. Matt Bandi Says:

    Nady is good, but not great. The fact that he was arguably the best offensive player on the team in 2007 speaks volumes about the current state of the Pirates. Nady’s value will decrease as he gets closer to free agency, and a rebuilding team has to deal its better players at the height of their value.
    The Pirates are at least a few years from competing, and Nady will not be around when that time comes. He should be dealt now to get the maximum return.

  2. David Hannes Says:

    Nady is the kind of player that the Brewers are looking for to replace Geoff Jenkins–high OBP vs. power. But I think Nady is similar to Jenkins in one respect–both seem to be destined for role players off the bench in ’08.
    Someone like the Giants who like veterans but don’t have anyone under the age of 39 on their roster might see Nady as not yet peaking…LOL.

  3. Kevin Collazo Says:

    Mets fans would be more than happy to re-acquire Nady. He is not destined to be a bench player. Considering that this was what, his third year as a starter? Those numbers are great for missing significant time.
    Why they would trade him is beyond me though. If you want to ever field a great team again, you’ve got to keep some talented players. They need to bring in top quality players in order to remove themselves from the bad situation they are in.

  4. Drew Says:

    I totally agree and have been saying this for the past few months. All this talk about trading Bay right now is crazy. Bay had the worst season of his career and his stock is at its lowest right now. Hold him and hope he recovers early in the year then trade him at a higher value. Nady and Wilson had their best years and will never have a higher value. Outfield is the only area we have depth so Nady is expendable. We could suffer through a season or two without a true SS. Draft a couple or trade for a prospect and see if you can find a gem. It’s not like Nady and Wilson are gonna put us over the top anyway.
    Trade them now while they have value.

  5. Francisco J. Roman Says:

    No, please don’t trade Nady!
    He is one of the few players with heart and dignity on the Pirates. He is also a better clutch hitter than Bay, and really seems interested.
    Injuries cannot be controlled. Heart, effort, and production can. Nady offers the last three better than most players on the team.

  6. The ‘Ocracy Weekender 11-16-07 | sportsocracy [dot] org Says:

    […] Should the Bucs trade Xavier Nady too – MVN […]

  7. Randy Says:

    If he gets traded and winds up on the bench instead of starting, can he sue on the basis that the Pirates discriminated against him and his balky colon?

  8. jfp Says:

    the pirates need to trade nady OR bay, because they need to open a spot for the trade the pirates need to get prospects, NO big league player.

  9. Travis Says:

    I concur. Nady for MVP’s value will never be higher than it is now. The odds of him pulling a hamstring before the season are very low and he may remember that he can’t hit RHP in the offseason too.

  10. Jerry Lombardo Says:

    I am a true pirates fan (Embarassed to admit) but this is not why I am writing this about Nady. I love the guy. The way he plays is the way all the Pirates should copy. Injuries are part of the game. Live with them. Even often injured, Nady produces more than most other Pirates. For years the Pirates were trying to obtain this guy, Now their looking to deal him. For what, Prospects. Give me a break, with the Pirates history, most of them will never see the majors, if one by some miracle makes it and somehow puts up numbers simular or slightly better that Nady’s, the fans will fall in love with him too, (see Giles, Nady, Casey,etc) only to see the Pirates faced with not being able to afford him now and having to deal him away for “Prospects” The losing continues due to failure to plan.

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