Xavier Nady as a Cub? Why So Average?

Damen JacksonCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 04:  Xavier Nady #22 of the New York Yankees at bat against the Chicago Cubs during their game on April 4, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Filed: Jan. 28, 2010

San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres

Free Agent and Possible Chicago Cub Xavier Nady

As I sit and examine the roster repercussions of the Cubs signing Xavier Nady as reported here, and to a lesser extent, inking Chad Tracy to a minor-league deal, I keep coming back to the question of why the Cubs continually overpay for mediocrity?

It’s not that I don’t like Nady; I do, actually. I regarded him as a pretty good player back in his Pirates days.

Perhaps it was the change in environment, or having to pick up a new personal scout book for the AL, or maybe the fact that life in the AL East has fewer Jeff Suppans and more A.J. Burnetts, but he’s been less than stellar in New York, and that was before the injury.

Yes, the almost unprecedented second Tommy John surgery that he’s still rehabbing, and which makes his even passing a physical at this point, as one baseball official so candidly put it, “Not a foregone conclusion.”

So the question that you ask yourself is not whether you’d take a flier on Nady—because when you can get a potentially league average starter to potentially ride the pine for you, you jump at the chance—but how much do you pay for the privilege?

Here’s a hint: You don’t pay $3.3 million guaranteed as reported, especially for a right fielder that’s coming off a TJ operation. Jacque Jones should have taught the Cubs the lessons of a right fielder with a noodle arm.

The net effect is that the Cubs probably will get nice production out of Nady, and to a lesser extent Tracy in 2010. However, when you look at a potential $5.5 million outlay for Nady, you have to stop and at least wonder if this is an example yet again of Jim Hendry overpaying.

Jeremy Burnitz, Jones, Juan Pierre, Matt Lawton, Cliff Floyd, Kosuke Fukudome, and Milton Bradley—did I miss anyone?

The Cubs outfield is littered with the carcasses of talent that in the end proved over the last few years to be at best average and ill fits to which the Cubs overpaid, and at worst, complete wastes of money; and that’s just the outfielders.

So I ask again: Why so average, or better yet, why must they pay a premium for it?