Pirates-Yankees deal in win-win
July, 26, 2008
Xavier Nady has spent most of his career as a lefty-masher who didn't hit right-handed pitching at all, and only started to hit righties a little bit in 2007 before exploding against them this year in a career season. He's not likely to keep hitting at this pace, certainly not into 2009, but the Yankees needed a bat for left field with Hideki Matsui's return uncertain, Johnny Damon nicked up, and Jorge Posada probably only suited to DH the rest of the way. In the best-case scenario, where all of their outfielders are healthy, the Yankees could platoon Nady with either of the two left-handed hitters. Damaso Marte has been very tough on lefties his entire career, despite his reverse platoon split this year (probably just sample-size issue). He comes from a low slot and throws slider after slider, using it more than he uses his fastball, throwing enough strikes and keeping the ball down. The Yankees lacked an option to come in and get a good left-handed hitter out late in a game, and Marte fills that role without requiring the use of a roster spot for a one-out lefty specialist. The one player going to Pittsburgh with major league experience is Ross Ohlendorf, who projects as a good late-game short reliever, perhaps a closer but at least a solid setup man. He has an above-average fastball at 92-94 mph, an average slider that flashes plus, and an average changeup, and his command has been much better since he moved to the bullpen after working as a starter at Princeton and at the start of his pro career. I see no reason he couldn't pitch for the Pirates right now, and the difference between him and Marte for the rest of the season will be less than half a win, and could easily be zero.