From the start of the offseason, I had this grim hunch that Xavier Nady would be the kind of guy the Cubs would bring in to be the "RBI guy" that Lou wanted. I was surprised to see this report with all the Dye speculation, although it probably just means the Cubs are turning over every stone for the best buy low scenario to round out the bench. But it got me thinking, would we rather have Nady or Dye as Fukudome's platoon mate in right / fourth outfielder? At this point, I'm not sure who would demand more money. It seems logistically more likely that we sign Dye, but who would you rather have?
Xavier Nady is only 31, plays slightly below average defense in right (-2.1 career UZR) compared to Dye's well below average defense in right (-15.1 career UZR, including four straight -20 campaigns). The big question is if Nady's surgically repaired arm can still make the throw to third. Nady has actually played over 540 innings at first, with what appears to be above average defense (in a small sample size), not to mention a handful of games at 3rd (hey, in an emergency...).
Offensively, they are closer than you might think. Nady's career triple slash is .280/.335/.458. Dye's is .278/.338.488. Since 2006 (including 2009, in which Nady played only 6 games), Nady has been 5 WAR player to Dye's 4.1. Even if Nady's 2008 (.305/.357/.510) is a bit of an outlier, I could see him somewhere between his career line and his 2008 line. Something like .285/.345/.480.
The big question is who will be cheaper. I think I'd rather invest in the 31 year old with more defensive and trade value than the 36 year old who is on his last legs and probably on his last contract. Of course, the other question is, would you rather just re-sign Reed Johnson or play Sam Fuld...
I should add that what scared me about Nady initially was the fear that Hendry might give him a payday based on his 2008 numbers. Given the limited interest in him (especially by the Yankees), it appears he should come cheap. What would be ironic would be if the Cubs signed Nady and the Yankees signed Reed Johnson.