Nady Talk is Nada; Don’t Believe the Hype
Some of the “buzz” in the punditsphere has been that the Pirates are not going to offer Xavier Nady arbitration; a.k.a. “non-tender” him and thereby make him a free agent. Naturally, this has Mets fans filled with visions of sugar plum fairies and a rightfield platoon of Ryan Church and Nady in 2008.
Not so fast, all ye Shea faithful.
First of all, the idea that the Buccos would let one of their top three run producers walk away in return for nothing is pure lunacy, even for the Pirates. But just to check, I asked former Pirates blogger and highly ranking MVN executive (OK, maybe not THAT high ranking) Cory Humes about the “X Factor”. His response:
The day after Dejan Kovacevic wrote in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates were considering non-tendering Nady if they couldn’t move him in a trade, the Pirates “responded to the contrary.” You can read about their rebuttal here. Dejan dots his i’s and crosses his t’s, so I’m assuming he must have been fed bad information. As you implied, cutting Nady would’ve been sheer lunacy. Even with a raise coming in arbitration, his contract won’t be cost-prohibitive. That’s not even mentioning the fact that he was the Pirates’ most consistent offensive contributor in 2007.
OK, so Cory was the one who came up with the “lunacy” adjective … in any case, it fits. And though Mr. Humes may not have the insider connections of say, Buster Olney or Jon Heyman, I do believe he has a better handle on the pulse of Pittsburgh than we do here in the Big Apple. So as long as I had his attention, I figured I’d ask him what other “buzz” he was hearing around the Bucs. His response follows …
“The scoop, I suppose, is this: The Pirates will trade from their outfield surplus this off-season. Nady, Jason Bay and Nate McLouth (an underrated left-handed hitting fourth outfielder) are being shopped. Steve Pearce raked in the minors in 2007, and he could be in line for a starting spot in 2008. Nyjer Morgan seems to have first dibs on the center field job despite possessing few redeeming qualities. Ryan Doumit still figures into the picture as a backup catcher or right fielder. So, in essence you have that first trio filling one lineup spot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nady or Bay traded, as well as McLouth, for a handful of prospects the average Pirate fan has never heard of.
On Monday, rumor had it that the Indians were offering Kelly Shoppach and Cliff Lee for Bay. That would’ve been a shot to the gut. While both Cleveland players would’ve been an upgrade over what we currently have at their respective positions, I think most diehards believe the Bucs need to get much younger. Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker could be solid regulars in 2009: forget 2008, and aim for the future. For that reason, veterans such as Jack Wilson, Matt Morris, Damaso Marte and Salomon Torres should all be available this winter.
I think in trading Bay or Nady, McLouth and Wilson, the Pirates need to pick up at least one middle of the rotation starting pitcher at or around the Triple-A level; a corner outfield prospect that can reach the majors relatively quickly; and a glove-first catcher who can split time with Ronny Paulino if necessary. The Pirates’ system is weak in general, but it’s always nice to pick up young pitching when possible.
I’ll be shocked if Marte and Torres are still Pirates in March. Marte’s value might never be higher — he’s a dominant LOOGY earning $2 million in 2008 — and Torres can still be a right-handed seventh inning option for a winning team. The Pirates are stuck with Morris unless they want to eat some of the $9.5 million he’s owed this season. I’d rather see him pitch in the first few months of the season, and hope that a contender will bite in June or July.
I’m not a Mets expert, but I’d think a Nady/Church platoon would make sense. Damaso Marte’s worlds better than Scott Schoeneweis. I’m not sure if Phil Humber would be available in a trade for B-list players, but he’s the kind of arm I think the Pirates would be wise to add.”
Cory’s comments are pretty much the perspective from Pittsburgh, and I find it very interesting to hear a point of view outside the New York – Metropolitan area. Personally, I’m getting pretty tired of all the Johan Santana talk, particularly since we know there’s a better chance of hell freezing over than the Mets grabbing the Minnesota lefty — so this Pirate talk arrives to me as refreshing. Marte for Humber … hmm … I don’t think so, unless Nady is involved. Or Bay, for that matter. Maybe Mulvey, Humber, and Church for Bay and Marte? If nothing else, it has a ring to it.
There’s also been a lot of buzz about Ian Snell, and from the New York POV you’d almost think that Pittsburgh is ready to give him away. Nix on that one, too. According to Cory:
“I only trade Ian Snell or Tom Gorzelanny if I get Delmon Young and another piece. I think they’ve both proven more than Matt Garza, and have the potential to be special pitchers. They’ll only be moved if the Pirates are absolutely blown away with an offer.”
Again, this is Cory Humes and not Ken Rosenthal. But it’s fascinating to find out how highly valued these Pittsburgh pitchers are from the Pirate fan’s perspective. It sounds like the Mets would have a better chance prying Eric Bedard away from the Orioles.
Thanks again to Cory for his input. He used to write quite a bit for the Pittsburgh Lumber Co., which is still a fine blog and definitely worth a look-see if you want to get the scoop on the Pirates. I’ll try to get more “rival” bloggers’ perspectives on the hot stove if you find it entertaining — be sure to let me know in the comments.