Cameron/Nady Swap

Pending Physical, Mets trade OF Mike Cameron to Padres for OF/1B Xavier Nady

Site writer Richard B. Wade is a Padre fan and I'm a Met fan, so this makes for interesting discussion, if we ever get around to it. Otherwise, I expect a nice comment from the Padre perspective. So, quickly, some rationales:

  • New York Mets: Free up more salary for a big bat/closer, move Cameron to a situation in which he will play his more natural CF position, potential 1B platoon candidate in Nady?
  • San Diego Padres: Add centerfielder with pop at a reasonable salary to spacious Petco outfield.
You'd be hard-pressed to make the case that Xavier Nady is a better hitter than Mike Cameron, so it's pretty clear that the Padres got the better player out of the deal. Three Padre free agents, however, have surfaced in rumors about the Mets: Brian Giles, Ramon Hernandez, and Trevor Hoffman. So if that money is parlayed into one of those three players, the trade is quite a bit more than Cameron for Nady, straight up.

That said, in another sense, if the Padres have already decided that Giles, Hernandez, or Hoffman are not worth resigning, then they should be commended for doing what they can to compensate for their salaries.

Buster Olney of ESPN.com was very anti-Met with his reaction to the trade in his blog, and Dan Szymborski of BTF was somewhat anti-Padre in his reaction. I'll take the middle ground on this one. For the Padres, it's a good acquisition. Nady wasn't getting a chance to thrive and Mike Cameron's defensive reputation makes him seem ideal for Petco (the numbers said that he was actually below average in rightfield this year, but we'll see how that goes next year in San Diego's center).

By EqA, Cameron has been an above average hitter for most of his career, posting EqAs above .260 every season since 1999, never peaking above .292 and never dropping below .269. If he recovers from his injuries, I can't see him being too far off of his standard performance: you'll get good plate discipline, some speed, some power, and a bunch of strikeouts that scare people, but they're really OK, too. The Padres either undervalue Brian Giles at their own risk or have a plan to replace his offense, somehow, because Cameron's not in the same league.

For the Mets, there have been millions of rumors about this trade, including many starting about moving Xavier Nady elsewhere. "Congratulations, welcome to the New York rumor mill." If you're not into hearing your name in trade rumors, you're not into the New York thing, certainly. The ONLY Met whose name I didn't hear mentioned at least once in trade rumors this year was Pedro Martinez. Seriously. (Granted, one of them was the David Wright-Danys Baez thing, but that was more of a joke than anything else).

Nady's a career .263/.320/.414 hitter without nearly the defensive reputation of Cameron. The positive spin for Nady, though, is his career lefty/righty split:

Lefties: .323/.390/.452
Righties: .232/.282/.395

Whether or not this is due to limited playing time, exposure, or experience, or anything, Nady mashes lefties and gets eaten alive by righties. Mike Jacobs, the Met C/1B callup, wowed many with his surprising and Shane Spencer-esque .310/.375/.710 line in 100 AB. Either the Mets were concerned about his abilities against lefties or fate played out very strangely, because Jake only got 5 AB against them (with 2 hits). The sample size of 100 AB is far too small to point out a platoon difference, but Nady appears to exhibit it.

Rationally, then, the Mets could run a straight platoon of Jacobs and Nady at first base and then use Nady to play in corner outfield spots, on occasion.

Nady's most recent stint in AAA was back in 2004, and, over half a season, he destroyed the level. He was 25, though.

The Padres got a player they could use, but they probably sealed their fate with their free agents in the process. The Mets got money and a guy with some value, but a guy who probably will never fulfill his promise from his days at Cal. It's a mixed deal, certainly. We'll see how the Mets use the money.

An aside: PECOTA nailed Nady last year. He hit .261/.320/.439, and his weighted mean forecast was .262/.322/.437. My compliments to the algorithm and its creator.

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