Why didn’t he fit is one of the questions that will inevitably arise and good luck finding an answer to that one.
Even with anonymity, it is likely no one with the Padres would discuss the matter openly. Veiled statements, sure, but it comes down to manager Bruce Bochy not trusting in his abilities.
Before the 2005 season, Bochy had pegged Xavier Nady as a guy who would log 450 at bats. Despite playing in a misleading 124 games, he fell 124 at bats shy of that mark. He had one nine game stretch where he played in every game – notching two four-hit affairs. He also had an eight game stretch as a starter – notching a hit in each contest before being put on the bench and being used as a pinch hitter. Those were his two longest stretches of the season with regular playing time.
There were opportunities to play him on a regular basis but Bochy refused to have him be the man he could be. Nady hit .330 with 22 homers and 70 RBI’s in 74 games for Triple-A Portland in 2004, showing what he could do when consistently in the lineup.
Bochy never wanted to give him that chance – and it has been an unfortunate staple of his tenure in the dugout. He has misused young players in the past and Nady is the prime example. Rather than letting him ride through his rookie season in San Diego – Bochy banished him to the minors – when the team was sitting at the bottom of the standings.
The trade for Mike Cameron was possible because of his sagging value. No one knows what type of player he will be after a sickening collision with teammate Carlos Beltran in his last visit to PETCO Park. His shattered face required surgery and the holdup on completion of the trade is predicated on the Padres completing their physical. Once completed, Cameron can relive it on a daily basis.
When healthy, Cameron is a special centerfielder who will save runs and while he will strikeout a ton, he adds power to the lineup – because he will certainly be in there everyday.
Cameron has hit in some tough parks, from Seattle to New York, and still averaged 23 homers per season prior to last year’s injury filled campaign.
Seattle’s Safeco Field is the 26th toughest park to homer in and Shea ranks 21st.
The move appears on the surface to be a positive for San Diego. It is highly dependent on Cameron not bailing out when a fastball trims the whiskers of his chin or more importantly does so on the ball that is low and away.
Nady was not going to play in San Diego as a regular anyway. Bochy made that clear. Ben Johnson – a Bochy guy. Nady – a Met.