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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Micalpalyn December 5, 2007 at 12:11 pm
    I disagree. Yes the Bucs will hang on to X. But I think they started the smoke to see what they could get.
  2. Walnutz15 December 5, 2007 at 2:12 pm
    If you have any degree of interest in the Pirates, as a team, as a fan, as an organization — then you’re going to watch management very carefully to see how they handle their business going forward.

    Especially in terms of making their first significant trade, acquisition, or signing.

    Non-tendering Xavier Nady was complete and utter nonsense from the start — and really, everyone bought into it hook, line and sinker because of the Pirates past dealings. Hopefully, that has indeed changed.

    As the son of a long-time suffering Pirate fan — a kid who watched those NLCS games with my pops only to see Francisco Cabrera de-rail their hopes….I’ve always followed the Pirates through the years. And for everyone’s sake — I hope the ship can be righted sometime in the near future.

    Noone’s gonna come blowing them out of the water in a deal for the X-Man. Nady’s a good fit down in that park, and they should hang onto him — unless of course, he’s made it his place to request a trade behind the scenes (something I wouldn’t be at all surprised about, considering his body language in the field when my brother and I sat a row from 1st base down in PNC Park.)

    I find it interesting how this winter is going… all of a sudden, the Johan talks are back in action. I’m beginning to believe that paid sportswriters are no better than any random bloggers on the internet.

  3. Walnutz15 December 5, 2007 at 2:20 pm
    And for what it’s worth — I really can NOT listen to these 2 clowns anymore.

    Russo and Francesa…

    They think they’re smarter than everyone — talk down to most of their callers…

    Does anyone stop to think: “This is the ‘wisdom’ of Russo the Moron?”

    When the Mets made the trade for Schneider and Church, first thing out of his mouth is “Mike – Ryan Church stinks!”

    He proceeds to come back from a break and has Church’s stats in front of him — reads them off and says “I didn’t realize his numbers were good last year, Mike!”


    Heyman is reporting on the FAN that the Mets are back in the Johan-sweepstakes.

    Reyes will NOT be included.

    The Twinkies over-estimated the market and were underwhelmed by Boston and the Yanks — just as I thought. Those packages stunk like rotten egg salad.

    Twins, he thinks, will trade Santana.

    (And if 24 year old Superstar Miguel Cabrera COUPLED WITH Willis does not net a single MLB proven position player, there is no way anyone else should. Get ready to ride this into Christmas-town, boys.)

  4. Walnutz15 December 5, 2007 at 2:23 pm
    Here’s some linkage for you guys:

    “Meanwhile, the Mets have been aggressive in trying to get back into the mix, and while a Twins person suggested days ago that he saw the Mets as an extreme longshot unless Jose Reyes was included, it appears they are at least listening to proposals that don’t include Reyes. Mets people have made Reyes and third baseman David Wright untouchable, but they will at least consider dealing any of their other young players.”

    “The Mets have two excellent outfield prospects, Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez, and a handful of pitching prospects, led by Kevin Mulvey and Mike Pelfrey, and are trying to form a package to entice Minnesota while the Twins continue to negotiate with Boston.”

    “In any case, the Mets see an opening now. It may be a small opening, but it is one they will not pass up.”

  5. isuzudude December 5, 2007 at 2:50 pm
    Walnutz – how do you go from believing “…that paid sportswriters are no better than any random bloggers on the internet” to two posts later drawing quotes from SI like they’re verses from the Bible? I’m just poking fun. However, the only reason the Mets are being mentioned in Johan-related rumors again is to drive Boston’s cost up a little more. There is 0 chance of the Mets getting Johan, and I still believe there’s less than a 50% chance that Johan gets traded at all before the start of the 2008 season.

    I’m still on the bandwagon of making a swap with the Pirates. And since you follow the team so closely, what are your feelings on a potential deal of Bay/Snell for Church/Humber/Mulvey? Or even just going for Torres or Marte in a smaller deal in which the Mets give up no top prospects (i.e dan murphy, jonathan niese, mike carp)?

    In regards to mike and the mad dog: if you are to listen to their show, you have to go into it with the same mentality as wrestling fans go into watching the wwe. you have to know that the show is only for entertainment purposes and none of which you are hearing is actually “real” or “factual,” but instead scripted by a couple of anti-Met propagandists who will spew lies and uneducated opinions just to get their agenda over. The sad part is that thousands of people buy into their crap and let mike and chris do their thinking and analyzing for them, just to regurgitate it to their friends at the water cooler later in the day. those are the same people who think the yankees should win the world series every year based on merit and who think championships can be built by throwing money at all your problems. I’m thrilled neither of those hosts are Met fans because that would make all of us look bad.

  6. joe December 5, 2007 at 2:51 pm
    I’m still trying to figure out that Marlins deal. Not ONE Major Leaguer! And the O’s supposedly turned down Gomez, Heilman, and Humber? They’re nuts!

    I keep looking at D-Train compared to Bedard and I’m really trying to figure out what the excitement is over the Baltimore lefty. He’s had two good years, he’s completed one game in his career, never threw 200 innings in a season, and his career high for wins is 15. And he’s going to be 29 years old next year. D-Train, who will turn 26 in January, has thrown 200+ innings in each of the last three years (196 the year before that), has won 22 games in a season, has never missed a start, and has thrown 15 CGs including 8 SHOs in his career thus far. I understand Bedard’s stock is up while Willis’ is down, and Bedard pitched in the AL East, but come on! Facts are facts! I think it’s best for the Mets to get out of all trade negotiations for starting pitching right now, before they do something absurd. Unless the Twins are ready to hand over Johan for five minor leaguers, it’s time to leave the meetings.

  7. Micalpalyn December 5, 2007 at 2:54 pm
    Beddard: Never been to post season!
  8. joe December 5, 2007 at 2:54 pm
    ** I’m thrilled neither of those hosts are Met fans because that would make all of us look bad. **

    Never thought of it that way … kudos, and I second the motion.

  9. FrankStallone December 5, 2007 at 3:16 pm
    I know cerrone mentioned something about this, but what do you guys think about finally giving heilman a legit shot for the 5th spot next year? it seems like he could probably match the performance of most of the free agent options (even if he stinks). And despite durability concerns, Willie certainly did stretch him out in the bullpen this past season. I am curious to see what he could do on 4-5 days rest…

    This has obviously been a big talking point over the past two years, but I can’t help but feel that theres never been a better time for this…assuming he has another good spring training as a starter.

  10. Walnutz15 December 5, 2007 at 3:23 pm
    **Walnutz – how do you go from believing “…that paid sportswriters are no better than any random bloggers on the internet” to two posts later drawing quotes from SI like they’re verses from the Bible? I’m just poking fun. However, the only reason the Mets are being mentioned in Johan-related rumors again is to drive Boston’s cost up a little more. There is 0 chance of the Mets getting Johan, and I still believe there’s less than a 50% chance that Johan gets traded at all before the start of the 2008 season.**

    I can take a ribbing, my man — and definitely did just there….but I don’t believe Heyman, he’s the biggest wishy-wash, flip-flopper around. Just yesterday, he was saying things that were totally contradictory.

    And as far as the rest of your quoted segment above, I’m in complete accord. I haven’t ever once thought Johan was close to becoming a Met — that he’ll ever be one — or that the Mets will even do anything significant this winter in terms of acquisition.

    I, too, feel that the Twins should hold onto him — on the basis of weak returns.

    Joe — the Marlins should be either:

    a) Contracted, or
    b) Moved to Mark Light Stadium, where there team could pass for Miami’s — and where they’d undoubtedly play in front of more fans. When we played there in the 2000 Regionals, there were about 5,000 fans in attendance. That trumps your typical Marlin game when the Mets aren’t in town, no?

    I’ve never seen a team go through so many re-building phases.

  11. isuzudude December 5, 2007 at 3:24 pm
    Mr Stallone:
    I’m not a fan of the idea. I view it this way: you have a dam, and it’s leaking water in 2 places. The best way to fix the leaks is to get 2 plugs, but at the moment you only have one. So instead of spending the time and resources to get that second plug, you just shift the one plug you have from one leak to the other. At the end of the day, you still have a leaky dam.

    The Mets pitching is in the same situation. Yes, Heilman would make for a quick-fix to the rotation spot vacated by Glavine, but then what happens to the bullpen? Who fills his ever-so important innings bridging the relief gap to Billy Wagner? And so, if you remove Heilman from the pen (which is already leaky enough if you ask me) to put into the rotation, you are just creating another hole someplace else that Omar has to go out and fix. And with a crop of Pelfrey, Humber, Vargas, and Mulvey to chose from as a 5th starter, I’d be prone to leave Heilman right where he is.

  12. FrankStallone December 5, 2007 at 3:31 pm
    the dude doesn’t abide
  13. joe December 5, 2007 at 3:44 pm
    Funny FrankStallone should be bringing up Heilman … I just finished a post on that idea.

    Longtimers here know I couldn’t possibly resist!