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What to do about X. Nady?

Well, at least there's something to worry about. The Mets are 40-23, after taking advantage of Philly blunders en route to their sixth straight win and a 7.5 game lead in the NL East with eleven to spare against the Braves. They even have a 15 game headstart on the Marlins, despite the Fish Club's recent hot streak.

And yet there are problems. There's the issue of what to do with Aaron Heilman.
Glavine has been rocked his last two starts. And Soler and Hernandez are touch and go at this point.

The best part about controlling first place, though, is the issue of good problems. Last year the Mets had a big starting pitching surplus that allowed them to get rid of Kaz Ishii, stick Aaron Heilman in the pen, stick Zambrano in the pen and leave top prospect Yusmeiro Petit at AA. While they have not experienced such flexibility with the rotation, as Trachsel sucks and the revolving doors at SP #4 and #5 have yet to be permanently filled, Omar has gotten close to fixing that, all while Jose Lima and Victori Gonzalez have been displaced and Brian Bannister and Victor Zambrano have all the time they want on 60-day DLs. Top prospect "Bats in the" Pelfrey, sizzling after a shaky AA beginning, is not going to be called on out of necessity.

Another surplus is in the outfield. The Mets have five outfielders capable of being everyday players and that's excluding the capable Jose Valentin and Chris Woodward. One is a guaranteed mainstay in Carlos Beltran. If healthy, Cliff Floyd won't be riding pine except the occasional day game after night game or against a tough lefty. So that leaves three players to fill the right field spot. The problem presented is Xavier Nady's prognosis. He should be ready to return to the team in a week, leaving the Mets no longer with a surplus, but with a glut, of outfielders.

Endy Chavez: .300/.341/.425 in 120 AB.
  • I like Chavez a lot. He's unquestionably a great defensive outfielder who brings a ton of speed to the table. He's versatile at the plate and in the field, as he can hit extra-base hits or lay down a bunt for the base hit. He can play all three outfield positions. He's a left-handed hitter who is susceptible to the strikeout.

    Xavier Nady: .267/.331/.484 in 161 AB.
  • Nady presents an interesting conundrum. He was rushed to the hospital, with an urgent need for an appendectomy, provoking the promotion of Firstings Milledge. X had been providing good power throughout the year, though his production slowed in the last two weeks before being placed on the DL. While a veritable long ball threat, X strikes out a lot and is a weak defensive player. The right-handed hitter was acquired in the offseason for Mike Cameron.

    Lastings Milledge: .255/.308/.532 in 47 AB.
  • Lastings is the toughest to break down. He's more athletic than both Nady and Chavez, but is obviously less experienced. The right-handed hitter has whiffed 12 times in the 47 AB, slightly more than one-fourth of the time. While that will hopefully come down with experience, Lastings needs exactly that. He's not as solid in the field as Chavez and presents greater speed than Nady but he's nearly dropped quite a few balls along the way. He plays both corner outfield spots and could be used as an emergency player in centerfield.

    I think the decision here is tougher than it looks. The easy choice would be to give Nady his job back, demote Milledge and stick Chavez back on the bench. And one of those things will come true. Endy Chavez should be on the bench once Floyd returns to the lineup. If Floyd missed a more significant chunk of time, Chavez would probably return to the bench and Milledge would take his spot.

    The Mets should trade Xavier Nady. Interested teams could include the Cardinals and Yankees, both of whom are in need of a corner outfielder. Nady could also man first base when Jason Giambi plays DH or until Albert Pujols returns from the DL.

    The Lastings Milledge era has begun. It makes no sense for him to go back down to AAA nor does it make sense to have Floyd, Nady or Milledge on the bench in favor of another. Cliff Floyd's stock is at zero, despite a recent hot streak. Let him play and see how things go and take the draft picks in free agency instead of moving him at the deadline.

    The only problem is that moving Nady would create a void in one of the corner outfield spots in '07 without anyone to fill it. Carlos Gomez, currently in AA, could be pushed up to the big leagues to fill the spot, though chances are he'd be overmatched.

    Don't forget, though, potential free agents in LF include Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Jose Guillen, Moises Alou, and, dare I say it, Barry Bonds.

    Trading Nady is about winning now, and I'd do it. But if I could trade Floyd and get something meaningful in return? That would be ten times better.

    Myers vs. Hernandez. SNY/ESPN. 7:05. Let's make it an 8.5 game lead.

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