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Nady Likely Odd Man Out

by Tom Phillips

When Nick Swisher was traded for prior to the Mark Teixiera signing, the intention was to start him at first base. The acquisition of Tex has made this planning a moot point. Now with a glut of outfielders on the roster, GM Brian Cashman has to explore the possibility of moving one of these players.

With Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon at $13 million a piece and coming off the books at the end of the year, it's doubtful that either of them will be moved ina trade, especially with Matsui's no-trade clause and coming off knee surgery. That leaves either Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady as possible trade pieces.

The questions the Yanks face are two-fold; Who is the best fit for the team this year and in the future, and which player has more trade value?

Let's start with Nady. A right handed bat in what was last year's lefty heavy line-up, with a career OBP in the .350's, 20-25 homer power, and a lifetime .280 average and K/BB ratio of 3-1. Serviceable defense in both corner outfield spots and first base, with a modest $3.3 million contract and a free agent after the season. He's 30 years old.

Swisher is a switch hitter, with a career OBP also in the .350's, with 30-35 homer power, a lifetime .244 average and a K/BB ratio of 1.5-1. He also has serviceable defense in the corner outfiled spots and 1B, but is at $3.6 million for 2009 and under control through 2011. He's 28 years old.

Very similar players, with the noticeable exceptions of age, HR power, and K/BB ratio, as well as Swisher's arm serving better for him in RF. Last year Nady outperformed Swisher in most offensive categories, except the K/BB ratio. So it's easy to say that Nady has a higher perceived trade value right now.

But lets take a look at Nady's season. While with Pttsburgh for 89 games he hit .330 with 13 HR's and a .928 OPS. While in NY those numbers fell to .268/12/.794. The second set is far closer to his lifetime .280 avg and .793 OPS.

In contrast, Swisher in his off year still slugged 24 HR's with 21 doubles, despite hitting only .219 with an OPS of .742. This after 2 consecutive seasons of an .800+ OPS in pitcher friendly Oakland. Despite his off year his lifetime OPS still runs higher than Nady at .795.

With Nady's perceived value higher at this point, and the Yankees getting more right-handed/versatile in the line-up thorugh the loss of Giambi and Abreu and the addition of swith-hitting Teixiera and Swisher, the obvious trade piece at this point is Nady. He'll fetch more value in a deal than Swisher due to his off year of 2008, and Swisher's bat and plate discipline fit into the Yankee offense much better than Nady's. It doesn't hurt that he's the younger player or will be swinging at the short right field porch in the majority of his at-bats either. It's not crazy to expect his average to rebound to the .250-.260 range and his OPS to jump .100-.150 points in the much deeper Yankee line-up and friendlier confines of Yankee Stadium.

As much as fans may like Nady, he appears to be the odd man out at this point.

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