The rehabbing Xavier Nady (elbow) went 2-for-3 and made throws to second and third base in a simulated game yesterday, according to a release from the Yankees (via PeteAbe). He is on his way to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre today, and will see game action tomorrow.
Barring any setbacks, Nady should be back in pinstripes within the next couple of weeks. His return will spark a familiar dilemma mentioned on this blog: Who to start in right field, Nady or Nick Swisher?
Swisher is steadily maintaining his offensive numbers in June (.245/.383/.505), after a blazing start in April and an ice cold May. Just to give you a glimpse at the improvement: he has eight doubles already in June compared to just one in all of May. He is an average right fielder defensively, but also carries a quirky and entertaining persona that lightens the mood of the clubhouse.
Nady’s numbers were on the rise heading into the 2008 trade deadline (.301/.353/.482 in three years with the Pirates), and it seemed he was entering his prime. With the Yankees, his production has dropped down slightly (.270/.319/.469) and I believe is a cause of concern. Compared to Swisher, he has the edge defensively — more range and stronger arm — but is not as valuable offensively.
If GM Brian Cashman plans to keep both outfielders on the roster, one will be in right field and the other will be on the bench or at DH. Either one would join Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner on the bench. Sounds like a lot of outfielders to me, not to mention Hideki Matsui hogging the DH spot.
My verdict is to trade Nady (along with a minor leaguer) for a reliable reliever — preferably Huston Street. Overall, I feel more confident with Swisher on the team, and I feel the bullpen needs to be addressed. The Yankees have plenty of slugging outfielders in Triple-A (Shelley Duncan, John Rodriguez and Austin Jackson), while a quality bullpen addition would be a diamond in the rough in this year’s trade market.