After finding a backup catcher in Henry Blanco the Diamondbacks “will next turn their attention to finding a right-handed bat who can play left field” and are targeting Xavier Nady or Austin Kearns, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.
Gilbert speculates that Nady could have a slight edge because he has experience at first base in addition to seeing plenty of time in the outfield. Arizona is looking for a right-handed bat because projected starting left fielder Gerardo Parra swings from the left side of the plate.
Nady missed nearly all of 2009 following Tommy John elbow surgery and struggled to bounce back with the Cubs this year, hitting just .256/.306/.353 with six homers in 347 plate appearances. He’s a career .297/.367/.451 hitter versus lefties.
Kearns was more productive this year, hitting .263/.351/.395 in 461 plate appearances for the Indians and Yankees, and has a .261/.383/.416 career line off southpaws. He’s also a superior defensive outfielder and a year younger than Nady.
The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.
Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.
Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.