Xavier Nady Not What the Chicago Cubs Need: Why X Misses the Spot

Ed LeiserCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2010

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 15:  Xavier Nady #22 of the New York Yankees rounds the bases on his two-run home run in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox on September 15, 2008 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Pending the successful completion of a physical (which is really a question mark at this point), Xavier Nady will be the fourth outfielder for the 2010 Cubs

Nady, 31, is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery to replace a ligament in his shoulder.  He played in only seven games last season for the New York Yankees before being put on the shelf for the rest of an eventual World Series season.

Even though Nady is reportedly coming cheap at $3.3 million (considering his final full season he had 25 HR, 97 RBI, and a .305 batting average) this is not the best move for the Chicago Cubs, given this current roster.

If this were 2009, this move might look better.

A year ago, the Cubs were looking at a top-heavy pitching rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, and Rich Harden.

Dempster was coming off an All-Star season, and Harden had been lights-out against National League hitters.  In Zambrano and Lilly, the Cubs had two top-end arms to throw every five days.

But now things have changed in the Cubs starting rotation, and the former strength of this club is now littered with question marks.

Among them, who will fill in for injured All-Star Ted Lilly for the first month (maybe more) of the season as he rehabs from offseason shoulder surgery? 

Secondly, who will fill the void left by Rich Harden, who has taken his game to the American League?

Lastly, can Randy Wells (12-10, 3.05 ERA) duplicate his impressive rookie season in 2010?  When you realize that Wells' previous high for innings pitched was 131 (2006 in the minors) before last season's 165, you begin to get nervous.

A rotation of Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, and two starters yet to be determined doesn't exactly inspire confidence in my heart.

Considering the short-comings of this staff, one would think GM Jim Hendry would be in the market for another starting pitcher, if for no other reason than to help fill out the No. 4 or No. 5 spot.

Ben Sheets was signed by the Oakland Athletics for a hefty price, but is that any riskier than going after Xavier Nady?

Sheets' injury woes are well-documented, but Xavier Nady isn't exactly Mr. Universe.

Only twice has Nady even made 500 plate appearances.

If he is in fact signed, can the Cubs pencil him in for 400 at-bats? 

Knowing the injury concerns Alfonso Soriano brings to the table and the second half slumps that Kosuke Fukudome is accustomed to, Nady may not be the man for the job in the Cubs' outfield.

If Hendry wanted to make a splash (I know, crazy, right?) he would have pursued free agent Jermaine Dye more aggressively.

Not only would that create a buzz around the city of Chicago (Dye spent five seasons on the south side with the White Sox), but it would also give the Cubs a far above average No. 4 outfielder, who could spell Fukudome or be insurance for Soriano in left.

All Dye did for the White Sox was average 32 home runs, 92 RBI, a .277 average, and a .522 slugging percentage per season.

Those numbers would be deflated in less at-bats with the Cubs of course, but you still can't find better production on the planet for a No. 4 outfielder.

The lack of aggression by Hendry just illustrates the lack of enthusiasm that this 2010 season is so far bringing for Cubs fans.

Nady, if signed, will likely provide very little hope for a fan base starved for a winner.

But that's the approach Jim Hendry seems to be taking right now.