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Can Xavier Nady Help the San Francisco Giants Win the National League West?

Nady got his first big league opportunity, and perhaps his last, under Bochy.
Nady got his first big league opportunity, and perhaps his last, under Bochy.Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Mark ReynoldsCorrespondent IISeptember 1, 2012

Nearly a decade after struggling to get consistent playing time as a young player for the San Diego Padres under manager Bruce Bochy, it's come full circle for Xavier Nady.

On Friday, the Giants announced that the 33-year-old Nady would be one of their September call-ups. According to Bochy, via Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area, Nady may get an opportunity to play more than just part-time against lefties in left field.

There's no question that the Giants desperately need help in left field. Gregor Blanco has been getting most of the starts in place of Melky Cabrera, who was suspended for the remainder of the season due to a failed drug test. Blanco has been mired in a deep slump, hitting just .205/.330/.250 since the All-Star break, and just .224/.328/.245 during August.

Justin Christian went 0-for-11 with a walk while platooning with Blanco before he went on the disabled list. Francisco Peguero has gone 0-for-7 since being recalled from Fresno to replace Christian. He put up a tepid .297 on-base percentage in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, so expectations for Peguero were non-existent to begin with.

As for Nady, well, he was never more than an average player during the prime of his career before breaking out during the first half of 2008 when he hit .330/.383/.535 for the Pirates, earning a midseason trade to the Yankees.

He missed almost the entirety of the 2009 season due to injury and has hit just .237/.285/.342 over the last three years, including a .157/.211/.275 showing in Washington that earned him his release earlier this season.

In 99 plate appearances at Fresno, Nady hit .270/.343/.528. Given Blanco's struggles, attempting to catch lightning in a bottle with Nady, as the Giants did with the presumed washed-up Pat Burrell in 2010, might not be the worst idea in the world.

Then again, when the Giants took a chance on Burrell in 2010, they were getting a player who had a much better track record than Nady does now—and a player that had been very good only two seasons prior to the Giants picking him up, as compared to the four seasons that have passed since Nady last produced.

With one month left in the season and a five-game lead in the loss column over the Dodgers, any incremental improvement is worth a try, no matter how long the odds may seem.

As bad as Blanco, Christian and Peguero have looked with the bats, giving Nady an audition can't really hurt the offense. However, Nady is nowhere near the defender that Blanco is in the outfield. If Nady is going to help the Giants win the West, he's going to have to hit like he did back in the summer of 2008.

If not, the Giants may be better off sticking with Blanco in the end, because he can at least prevent runs with his range. The Giants won't be the worse for wear by giving Nady a look, but if he doesn't produce with the bat immediately, a short hook is essential.

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