Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Will the combo of Nady & Diaz prove sufficient in RF?

When the Mets traded Mike Cameron for Xavier Nady, the majority of press and fans alike felt that Omar didn’t get equal value in exchange for the former gold glover. However, there are 2 other factors to this deal (other than freeing up cash)- first, Omar obviously felt that it was time to go with Victor Diaz as a regular in the line-up, and in case he doesn’t cut it, in Nady we have someone who can either platoon with or play in place of Diaz; second, with Lastings Milledge soon to be ready for the big leagues, the question becomes where to play him, as Beltran is locked in center, and the hope is that Cliff Floyd will have another season like 2005 and we sign him to a 2 or 3 year contact. This would leave RF for Milledge, and the last thing we need is an expensive roadblock standing in his way. If Diaz hits well, they have the luxury of moving Millefge to LF next year and not signing Floyd (although we would LOVE to have the human quote-machine back with us), or resigning Floyd and trading Diaz (and/or Nady) for another useful part.

In the meantime, the question asked at the start of this post regards how Nady & Diaz will do this year. We think the answer to that question is, combined, an average of .281, with 29 homers and 87 RBI’s (that’s if both stay healthy, Willie goes with the hot-hand and they platoon regularly, with Nady also spelling Floyd for at least 10 games or so, and possibly Beltran for 10 games as well.)The defense, especially with Diaz in there, is not going to be pretty, and Beltran is certainly going to have to cover even more ground then he did last year, but their offensive numbers should put this RF collective right in the middle of the pack, which is good enough for us this year.

It’s also still possible that Diaz can have that break-out year that a lot of us thought possible for him, in which case Nady becomes even more valuable as a 4th outfielder. Let’s hope the patience that Diaz has shown during winter ball will prove to be a sign of what is to come, not still what could be, and that RF will not be a bone of contention for us this season.

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