Daily Dose: Tommy John surgery for Nady

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Xavier Nady felt a “sharp pain” in his elbow on April 14 and reports
immediately surfaced that he’d need surgery. He opted instead to rehab
the injury and looked to be making good progress, but suffered a
setback during a minor-league game last week and the Yankees confirmed
Thursday that he’ll undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

A fluky .330 batting average had Nady’s value at an all-time high
when New York acquired him last July, but he was a career
.272/.327/.441 hitter heading into the season and hit a nearly
identical .270/.319/.469 in 66 post-trade games. Damaso Marte was
included in the deal along with Nady and has been awful since, so the
Yankees got little value for Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jeff
Karstens.

Nady faces 9-12 months on the sidelines and is an impending free
agent, so he’s unlikely to re-sign with the Yankees and may have
trouble securing more than an incentive-laden deal on the open market.
Tabata was the centerpiece of the deal and has struggled at Double-A,
but he’s still just 20 years old and Pittsburgh has already gotten 238
innings of 4.57 ERA pitching from Ohlendorf and Karstens.

While the Nady trade looks a whole lot different now than it did at the time, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* If you watched the World Baseball Classic the name Aroldis Chapman
should ring a bell, as the 21-year-old southpaw flashed a high-90s
fastball while pitching for Cuba. Earlier this week he defected while
the Cuban national team was in the Netherlands for a tournament.
Chapman explained afterward that he just walked right out of the team
hotel and hopped into a waiting car.

“Now the plan is to sign with a major-league team,” Chapman said.
Seven years ago Jose Contreras defected in a very similar manner before
signing a four-year, $32 million contract with the Yankees. Contreras
was already 30 years old at the time and the consensus has Chapman as a
vastly superior talent, so speculation is that he could command upwards
of $60 million in a bidding war.

Chapman should be targeted heavily in any keeper league where he’s
available, because after watching him in the WBC there’s no doubt that
his raw stuff is elite and has the potential to make him an ace.
However, even with a 100-mph heater and promising off-speed pitches
he’s far from ready to thrive at the age of 21. He had a 5.68 ERA
during the WBC and a 4.03 ERA in Cuba last season.

* Perhaps regretting their decision to trade Mark DeRosa in
December, the Cubs traded for a poor man’s version Thursday by getting
Jeff Baker from the Rockies. Baker isn’t as versatile defensively or as
potent offensively, but can play second base, third base, and the
outfield corners while hitting .257/.313/.458. Of course, he’s batted
just .205/.266/.343 away from Coors Field, so don’t expect too much.

AL Quick Hits: CC Sabathia allowed six runs on 10 hits in 5.2
innings Thursday, giving up more than four runs for the first time
since mid-April … Despite his 7-1 record, Matt Palmer has been demoted
to the Angels’ bullpen to make room for Ervin Santana (triceps) in the
rotation … Vicente Padilla’s next outing has been pushed back to
Tuesday because of shoulder soreness … Mark Buehrle took a shutout into
the ninth inning Thursday while improving to 8-2 … Alexei Ramirez sat
out Thursday’s game after bruising his finger the night before … Tampa
Bay added former top prospect John Meloan to the bullpen mix Thursday,
hoping that the 25-year-old can rediscover his once dominant stuff …
Ichiro Suzuki swiped a base and doubled twice Thursday, boosting his
batting average to .370 … After never playing an inning at the position
prior to this year, Ty Wigginton appeared at shortstop Thursday for the
fifth time this season.

NL Quick Hits: Raul Ibanez (groin) has had his rehab assignment
pushed back twice, so he won’t be rejoining the Phillies until at least
next week … Joey Votto went 4-for-6 with a walk-off single Thursday and
is 15-for-38 (.395) since coming off the disabled list … Tim Redding
allowed five runs while recording seven outs Thursday, as his ERA rose
to 6.99 … Alfonso Soriano was a healthy scratch for the second straight
game Thursday, with Sam Fuld starting in his place … About one month
removed from hip surgery, Brett Myers will begin a throwing program
next week … Derrek Lee went deep twice and drove in a career-high seven
runs Thursday … Matt Diaz had another strong game Thursday, going
3-for-4 with a double and a steal … Doug Davis got stuck with a
no-decision for seven innings of one-run ball Thursday, making him 3-8
despite a 3.15 ERA … Mark DeRosa (wrist) is unlikely to start again
until Tuesday, according to Tony La Russa.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

*

Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

*

Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.