Yankees Grab Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte from Pirates

Matthew GoodmanAnalyst IJuly 25, 2008

Not content to simply beat the Red Sox in a 1-0 shutout at Fenway Friday night, the Yankees agreed to a deal with the Pirates that will send outfielder Xavier Nady and lefty pitcher Damaso Marte to the Bronx in exchange for minor-league outfielder Jose Tabata and pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Daniel McCutcheon, and Jeff Karstens.

Both teams did quite well. Nady should provide some stability to the depleted Yankees outfield and help balance the lefty-heavy Bombers lineup. While he played right field for the Pirates, he can play a slightly below average left field, as well.

Nady is enjoying his best season in the majors, posting a line of .330/.383/.535 this year. This is unlikely to continue, since his BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) is an insane .363, an absolutely unsustainable number (his career BABIP is .317). Regardless, he should be a good substitute for the injured Hideki Matsui, and is not eligible for arbitration until the end of 2009.

Damaso Marte will immediately become the Yankees' lefty specialist, even though his splits have been better this year against righties than lefties (.255 batting average against for lefties, .200 for righties). He should be a good addition to an already solid bullpen.

As for the Pirates' end of the deal, it clearly centers around Jose Tabata. Tabata, 19, was a top prospect in the Yankees' farm system. He is a possible five-tool talent with exceptional bat speed. He flew through the Yankees' farm system until 2006, when he was hit on the hand by a pitch. His recovery from the injury has been slow, and his power never recovered. This year has reduced his value thanks to a less-than-impressive line of .248/.320/.310 at Double-A Trenton. However, he is very young for Double-A, and may still achieve his full potential as a star outfielder.

Ross Ohlendorf is another name of note. While he struggled in his debut with the Yankees this year (1-1, 6.53 ERA), he still possess a power arm. The Yankees used him as a reliever this year, but his recent return to starting in the minors might increase his value. The former centerpiece for the Randy Johnson deal may never reach his full potential, but he may become a valuable piece of the Pirates' bullpen or rotation in the near future.

McCutcheon, a 13th round selection, is a 25 year old right hander who could have some value for the Pirates.  He works in the low 90s and features a nasty split-change.  However, his development has taken longer than expected.

Darrell Rasner, 27, is a right hander with fringy stuff.  He's a command and control guy who has struggled in his limited time in the majors (5-7, 4.83 ERA this year).  However, he might fare better once he's out of the AL East.

Overall, a good trade for both sides. The Yankees shore up their outfield and grab a lefty reliever, while the Pirates get some prospects with significant upside in Tabata, Ohlendorf, and, to a lesser extent, McCutcheon.