It appears Xavier (pronounced "EX-avier for those of you who have tried to correct TV sharp-shooter Len Kasper) Nady is emerging as the front-runner in the Cubs' derby to sign a right-handed hitting backup outfielder. I'm told no deal is in place yet, but that Nady could be in town as early as tomorrow to take a physical. If he passes that, we could have something by Friday.
[UPDATES: Any deal with Nady would be a one-year deal, according to sources. Nady may or may not come to Chicago for the physical. In addition, the Cubs will want to see how effectively Nady can throw, having coming off Tommy John surgery. In other words, it's not a slam-dunk yet, and the physical exam will be more than a formality.]
Nady played in only seven games for the Yankees last year before having to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow for the second time in his career. He also had TJS in September of 2001.
If Nady is healthy, this could be a very good signing for the Cubs, if it happens. In 2008, he played in 148 games between the Pirates and Yankees. He had a line of .305/.357/.510 with 25 homers, 97 RBI, a wOBA of .374 and an OPS-plus of 127.
For 2010, Bill James projects a line of .285/.337/.469 with a wOBA of .347.
The Cubs can't say anything about this until the physical is done. They won't even say that a deal is done "in principle." Nady is 31. He's at the top of the Cubs' list ahead of Jonny Gomes, Jermaine Dye and Reed Johnson (in no particular order).
There seems to be a good bit of enthusiasm over this in the halls of Wrigley. Sources point out that Nady also can play first base, which means he can give D-Lee a break. Because he'll be on a one-year deal, pending the physical, he'll be playing for his next big contract, whether it's with the Cubs or somebody else.
Against right-handed pitching, Nady has a career line of .270/.316/.453 with 66 homers in 1,790 plate appearances. Against lefties, he's .308/.383/471 with 21 homers in 673 plate appearances.
Cubs people are discounting reports of heavy interest in right-handed reliever Chan Ho Park. His price seems too high for them right now. Check back if he's unsigned when camp opens in three weeks. The Cubs are still focused on a reliever rather than a starting pitcher.
The Cubs-Nady connection was reported first today by Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.