The Royals have announced that they’ve signed outfielder Xavier Nady to a minor league deal for 2013. Presumably, the deal includes an invitation to spring training.
Nady has bounced around the majors after breaking in with the Padres. He’s played for nine teams since 2000, logging time with both the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants last season. He’s coming off a string of bad seasons. Since 2009, he’s received 765 plate appearances and put up a 72 OPS+ with them. He definitely peaked in 2008.
But it’s an option, and as the Royals look for players to fill out spots in the minor leagues, part of that strategy will be to go after guys who might have a bit of fire left. Nady is 34 years old but has had success in the big leagues before. The odds that he does so again are slim, if he even makes it back up, but it’s another low-risk move, similar to the deals signed recently involving George Sherrill, Dan Wheeler, and Willy Taveras. Bob Dutton suggests that the Royals may still look for outfield help and depth.
It’s interesting to note that Nady’s career slash line of .266/.324/.432 is slightly better than Jeff Francoeur’s .270/.310/.426, though Francoeur is younger, has more homers and more RBIs (also about 1600 more plate appearances in three fewer seasons). Nady’s no threat to Francoeur’s job (nor is anyone else in 2013).
Nady’s shown the ability to hit for power in the past, so if he does make it to the big leagues, he could be a reasonable right-handed option as a pinch-hitter or to spell others. He’s hit 20 or more homers in a season twice in his career, though the last one was in 2008. Not a lot to rely on there.