Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nady suddenly in the mix

US Presswire photo
Xavier Nady went 1-for-3 and made a couple of nice plays in the field.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Unemployed two weeks ago and relegated to minor-league camp two days ago, Xavier Nady found himself starting for the Nationals this afternoon. And the way things are going, he might just find himself taking the field with them in Chicago on Opening Day.

With left fielder Michael Morse and first baseman Adam LaRoche still battling injuries, the Nationals decided to take a look today at Nady, the 33-year-old veteran who signed a minor-league deal on March 18 and wasn't expected to see any action in big-league games this spring.

Starting at first base and batting seventh against the Mets, Nady went 1-for-3, striking out in his first two at-bats before singling to center in the top of the seventh. He also made several nice plays at first base, showing the ability both to field grounders hit his way and scoop up off-line throws from his infielders.

And by day's end, Nady had suddenly gone from a one-day cameo to a candidate to win the final spot on the Nationals' bench. Manager Davey Johnson said Nady will stay in big-league camp through the final week of exhibition play and be in the starting lineup again tomorrow against the Braves.

"I don't have any plans for him to go back down there," Johnson said. "He'll stay with us."

Johnson also made it clear Nady is now in competition for a spot on the Opening Day roster, joining the likes of outfielders Brett Carroll and Jason Michaels and first baseman Chad Tracy.

"I know he's very capable," the manager said. "What I was more concerned about [was] the type of hitter he was. It wasn't fresh on my mind. After I saw one round of BP, I knew where he was, and I knew I wanted to see a lot of him with us."

Nady's path to this point has been a winding one. Beset by injuries throughout his career, he twice has undergone Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and also missed time last season with a fractured hand.

Those lingering injury questions left Nady without a job through the entire offseason. In examining the possibilities this winter, he thought the Nationals might make sense, but their signing of veteran center fielder Mike Cameron put an end to those thoughts.

Cameron, though, never donned a Nationals uniform, announcing his retirement before he ever arrived in Viera. So Nady's agent, Scott Boras, stayed in touch with general manager Mike Rizzo and 10 days ago the two sides agreed to a minor-league deal. The Nationals had no plans to bring Nady to big-league camp, and Nady was perfectly comfortable opening the season at Class AAA Syracuse.

"My goal was to try to stay in shape, however long it took to get a job, wherever I was going to be," he said. "And I felt like I did a good job of that. I've been trying to stay pretty active, and you never know what's going to happen. I went to camp, and obviously everything being this late, you have to expedite the process. It's a different situation, but my goal is to get ready."

Johnson ventured over to minor-league camp earlier this week to catch a glimpse of Nady in action. He saw Nady step into the batter's box to face left-hander Danny Rosenbaum. And then he saw Rosenbaum's first pitch plunk Nady in the backside. Moments later, Johnson was summoned back to Space Coast Stadium to record a interview with MLB Network, so he never got a chance to see Nady swing the bat.

Thus, the impetus to bring Nady along for today's game against the Mets.

"He plays outfield and first base," Johnson said. "Last I checked, I had some guys on injured reserve. So why not look at him?"

Indeed, Nady's chance to make the club appear directly tied to the fates of Morse and LaRoche. The latter has been cleared to return to the lineup, so it appears he'll be fine to open the season. Morse, however, needs more time to get himself into shape after missing the last two weeks with a strained lat muscle.

The Nationals have several candidates to start in left field should Morse wind up on the disabled list, led by Roger Bernadina and Mark DeRosa. But Nady could force his way into the mix with a strong week in camp. He could also give LaRoche days off at first base.

"It's unfortunate. I've been on the other side of the spectrum, being hurt and not necessarily knowing the timetable," Nady said. "But my goal is just to obviously be ready, whatever the situation calls for me. And we'll go from there. Whether it's first, outfield or whatever. A lot of things can happen. I'll just stay ready and contribute when my name's called."


Gonat said...

Figured I would stir things up a little bit.

Where are all the Ian Desmond haters? Are they hibernating? After a 4-4 day, comments started with someone commenting that his leadoff single was seeing eye. Yah, that's it, he is just overly lucky.

MicheleS said...

Gonat.. They all went underground today, let's hope it stays that wey. I really want Ian to have a breakout season (since that will help us play DEEP into October.. I know.. put the koolaid down)

natsfan1a said...

I think those were from the Mets broadcasters. :-) Atta way, Ian.

After a 4-4 day, comments started with someone commenting that his leadoff single was seeing eye.

Gonat said...

natsfan1a, the Mets broadcasters said the 1st 4 Nats hits all could have been outs. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. One of our own commented on the game thread said that it was seeing eye:

TimDz said...Seeing eye single by Desmond to start the game... March 28, 2012 1:12 PM

They all shut up after hit #2, #3, and #4.

In other news, Cristian Guzman was released by the Indians, BJ Upton to the DL, and Justin Maxwell is out of options and doesn't look to stay long-term with the Yankees.

SCNatsFan said...

Now I fully admit I'm not the sharpest tool in the drawer but my worry is if Nady comes up someone has to be dropped from the 40 to do it and be exposed, something I'm not looking forward to

Gonat said...

Bill in DC said...
regarding the BENCH (copied from SteveM above):

"Jesus Flores, Chad Tracy, Jason Michaels, Mark DeRosa, Steve Lombardozzi, Brett Carroll. 5 of these players make it. One goes now. Another goes when Morse comes off the DL"

My thoughts:

Flores (C), DeRosa (IF/OF) and Lombo (IF) are locks and will likely remain after Morse returns.

That leaves Tracy, Michaels and Carroll for two spots (and really only one after Morse's return).

IMO we should flush Tracy, who is a worse version of DeRosa and also a primary 3B, where we do not have any need with Zim, DeRosa and plus Lombo's ability to play there.

That leaves Michaels and Carroll who will both make the team but I hope Carroll will stick. Not much hitting there but far better defense and speed which, to me, sounds like just what you want in a 4th OF.

March 28, 2012 2:31 PM

Since Mark's post we are commenting on is about Xavier Nady, I guess we need to add him to one of the possibilities for the bench.

DeRosa and Lombo have set themselves apart from the pack and earned spots. Obviously Flores is in. With Morse going to the DL, Bernadina most likely has earnd LF freeing up another bench spot. There is now 4 to 5 players that will compete for the final 2 spots.

Xavier Paul isn't mentioned and I wouldn't expect him in the mix. I think Brett Carroll makes it. No clue on the final spot.

Gonat said...

What's people thoughts on Ankiel? Is this guy just a pulled muscle and tweak guy whereby he is just going to constantly be on and off the DL? We already know he is a liability against LH pitching and not much better vs. RH pitching.

Anonymous said...

Andres Blanco is still hanging around. He has been awful.

Get Some Players said...

I really hope Desmond does well. But his field blunders alone have caused many objects to be thrown at my TV. I hope and pray those days are over.

Anonymous said...

Ankiel, Carroll, Michaels, and Tracy are why Nady is in the mix now. You can't rely on their offense plus
MLBTRADERUMORS claims Bernadina is not a Rizzo favorite.

Gonat said...

Anonymous said...
Ankiel, Carroll, Michaels, and Tracy are why Nady is in the mix now. You can't rely on their offense plus
MLBTRADERUMORS claims Bernadina is not a Rizzo favorite.

March 28, 2012 7:56 PM

I guess you don't follow stats as Nady was a butcher with the bat last year and his .287 OBP

The Bernadina/Rizzo thing was discussed in the Bernadina thread.

Cwj said...

Gonat- I think Ankiel is only around for his (very!) strong arm from the outfield.

Gonat said...

Cwj, that's all I think he is for also plus he is a good clubhouse guy. Doesn't that tell us he is at best a defensive replacement in the late innings or a September callup type?

Its a shame.

Cwj said...

Gonat- Yeah, late-inning defensive replacement is the way I see Ankiel after Morse comes back and Harper is called up.
Until then, he'll probably start some games (assuming health).
These backup/bench battles are what ST is all about.
I do like Ankiel.

Not crazy about Nady at the moment.

Gonat said...

If Nady couldn't do it in that offensive team like the D'Backs, its a waste of a spot.

Keep in mind that in June or July, Chris Marrero will be ready.

Ankiel can't stay healthy. He was beaten up many times last year and didn't go on the DL but couldn't play so the team was a player short.

Rabbit said...

I know I liked Desmond's four hits, but I'll tell you something.....he got the hits because he's finally HITTING the ball!! Even when he makes an out I don't mind, as long as he hit the ball and didn't strike out. See, hit it and good things will happen. GO NATIONALS!!!

Cwj said...

Rabbit- All Desmond has to do is "Keep your eye clear, and hit 'em where they ain't" :-)

Wee Willie Keeler quote I'm sure everyone has heard :)

Cwj said...

I posted what (I thought) were some interesting stats from the Nats pitchers under the Zimmermann thread.
But there is one more fun thing to post about last years game log, The walk numbers in each of Jordan's 26 starts:

0 Walks- 6 times
1- 10
2- 9
3- Only once! (in his first start last year).

So, in 26 starts last year, Zimmermann walked 2 batters or fewer 25 times!!!
That's mind-boggling.

Anonymous8 said...

Cwj, thanks for sharing those stats on JZim

Sunderland said...

The Nats have plenty of roster space, they won't need to drop anyone to add Nady or Carrol or Michaels, or whomever.
Their 40 man roster only has 38 on it now. And two of those can soon hit the 60 day DL (Kimball and Marrero), so they have 4 spots available.

SCNatsFan said...
Now I fully admit I'm not the sharpest tool in the drawer but my worry is if Nady comes up someone has to be dropped from the 40 to do it and be exposed, something I'm not looking forward to

March 28, 2012 7:37 PM

Anonymous said...

I guess you don't follow stats as Nady was a butcher with the bat last year and his .287 OBP

The Bernadina/Rizzo thing was discussed in the Bernadina thread.

Kind of like DeRosa eh? Who also had injury problems the last two years. I the guy can hit Johnson wants him. That's what he told Chad Tracy, Jason Michaels ... differs completely from Riggleman's fielding and defense first philosophy. Johnson WANT BATS on his bench. And not fly swatter, singles hitters and speedy guys with gold gloves in left-field. BATS REAL HITTERS.

AND, again, the stats especially the bRAA and wOBA (Remember both are used to calculate your beloved WAR naysayers!) appear to certainly back up Davey's preferences. AND especially LEFT HANDED BATS as Davey said in that the Nats MLB30DAYS30TEAMS deal right? Just what I've been saying. Left handed impact bats.

If you junior GM's want to try to predict team needs and trades you should be on the look out for those NOT complaining about Span ... that's Riggleman's ideas ... He's managing in AA last I looked right?

And as for Bernadina it belongs in this thread because if he does break out and start hitting HE IS LEFT HANDED. The only negative I could detect is that when he is interviewed he never seems to care either way. He always has the attitude that they are going to do what they are going to do. He didn't sound like he cared whether he was in AAA or the majors. He didn't seem to care whether he was helping the team or not. NOW, I may be wrong about this but that's what has always come across ... and anyone who has worked in the real world knows that kind of attitude can get one in trouble with management ... I'm just sayin.

IF Bernadina HITS HE will play NO and ifs or buts about it. Johnson wants his bat more than his glove. He ain't Riggleman.

Section 222 said...

Ok, I'll take the bait. 4 for 4 today notwithstanding, Desmond is not a good hitter or a reliable leadoff guy. No one who has reached that conclusion based on last year or his career numbers is going to change their mind about that after one game.

But most of us who don't think Desi is the solution at leadoff (or at SS for that matter), and, once again, "hater" is not the correct term for us, recognize that DJ and Rizzo want to give him a shot to show he's better than his history suggests. So of course we want him to do well.

We just aren't counting on it. And neither should all of you who hate the haters.

NatsBrat said...

On the Mets-Nats broadcast to-day, Keith Hernandez introduced the Nats' defense with a visual of the players and positions. He had a picture of Desi with the most team errors this spring. He was kind enough to say that, "...Desmond is a poor fielder, who strikes out a lot...", or something to that effect.

Thanks for the scouting report, Keith. We Nats' fans need to have the expertise of Mets' broadcasters to help fill in the gaps in our appreciation of our team.

Oh, and by the way, A**H***, Desi got 4 hits to-day, and your pathetic team got the errors. One thing about Desi, as far as I know, he doesn't snort coke like you and your former Mets' team mates!!!!

Goooooooooo Desi! Goooooooooooo Nats!

Cwj said...

Anonymous8- Thanks!
I try to post some mildly interesting stats that many fans might not know :-)

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll take the bait. 4 for 4 today notwithstanding, Desmond is not a good hitter or a reliable leadoff guy.

You don't have to Section 222. Let's face it if Desmond doesn't hit Davey, his biggest proponent, will remove him from the lineup. He has to produce even more than Lannan IMO. Why? Because behind Lannan is Wang and Detwiler, perhaps Gorzelanny and Rosenbaum.

After Desmond? Espinosa slides over and you have Stephen Lombardozzi, Anthony Rendon, Zach Walters, Jeff Kobernus, possibly Rick Hague (Not sure where he is post shoulder surgery?) Lots of lead off potential there along with a couple of potential impact bats.

Acceptance is best? They aren't going to hit this year. BUT that doesn't mean they won't win.

More development is required from the prospects at the major and minor league levels. Lots of scuffling to see who are the best hitter / fielder combinations. And in that huge mix they will be looking for the future elite hitters (Which many believe should be Harper and Rendon ... but are there others? There could very well be!) This is the tact that management (probably due to ownership wishes let's admit) has chosen. Prospects over free agents. Then pick and choose the best fitting free agents to push wins the rest of the way.

Keith Law on a podcast addressed Harper yesterday. He feels Harper at 19 going on 20 in October should play in AAA at least through June and probably longer to ensure he can handle major league pitching. BUT, he feels Rizzo will be pressured by the Nats marketing people to promote Harper as a way to put fannies in the seats.

I firmly believe Rizzo will resist the marketeers as he doesn't report to them and do what is best for Harper and the team. Now, Davey's pressure might be a different story ... but it sure seems like ownership supports the way Rizzo is currently developing the prospects. And they are seeing results in top guys like Strasburg, Zimmermann, Ramos, Flores, Espinosa, etc. Right now Rizzo seems like he has plenty of slack ...

So, let's be patient and let the drama unfold. They need a hitter in the lead-off position. It could even be DeRosa! I trust that Davey will do his best to put the best players in the best possible positions to score runs and win games for him.

Cwj said...

NatsBrat- I thought the Mets' (tv) broadcasters were very kind to the Nats, praising actually! But I missed the comment about Desmond that you mentioned.

Regarding Desmond, in my opinion he is a .250-.260 hitter with average (not below!) defense.
I like him, and hope he has an awesome season.
Hard to imagine he'll get on base enough to stay the leadoff hitter for much of the season though.

I won't dive in to any arguments about Desmond or Lannan. Those 2 have as many haters (boooo!) as fans (me!)

Gonat said...

Amanda Comak with her projections. She has Ryan Mattheus RHP in the bullpen and not Stammen.

Gonat said...

Anon @10:21, having a hard time following your logic. If you think Nady will improve after his 4 years of declining production, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Nady signed a Minor League deal and DeRosa is on the 40 man and obviously DeRosa will be on the Opening Day roster and has had a very good Spring. DeRosa's wrist injury has been well documented and he was picked up after he showed nice improvement at the end of last season.

Nobody was biting on Nady until the Nats got him 2 weeks ago. Seems to me, all the other GMs who need bench help and a guy who can play RF and 1st passed on him.

I just think he has plenty of time to prove himself in Syracuse. If you add Nady to the 25 man, someone has to be removed when Morse comes back and Nady would then have to pass through waivers if he was removed which he probably would do, it just makes it more complicated.

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cease the Opportunity said...

NatsLady said...

Apparently Desi has a switch, too

It's quite possible that's exactly what has happened, the switch clicked on, boom. We'll see...

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