Yanks complete deal for Nady, Marte
Bombers send Ohlendorf, three prospects to Pirates in deal
BOSTON -- The Yankees moved on Friday to upgrade their club for a push at the postseason, acquiring outfielder Xavier Nady and left-handed reliever Damaso Marte from the Pirates in exchange for four Minor Leaguers.
The Yankees have parted with talented right-field prospect Jose Tabata, plus three right-handers: Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf and Dan McCutchen.
The deal was officially announced on Saturday, pending the completion of physicals and the exchange of medical paperwork. Original reports of the deal included two Yankees Minor League pitchers -- Phil Coke and George Kontos -- who are no longer included in the trade.
Nady, enjoying the best season of his seven-year career, could fill the Yankees' need for a veteran right-handed bat in the lineup, as well as provide an additional outfield option. He was pulled from the Pirates' game against the Padres in the first inning at PNC Park on Friday, while Marte jogged in from the bullpen and hugged his teammates in the dugout.
The 29-year-old Nady was batting .330 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs in 90 games playing right field for Pittsburgh, but will likely shift into the left-field mix with New York, with some center field sprinkled in. Earning $3.35 million this season, Nady is not eligible for free agency until after the 2009 season.
"He was a huge part of the team -- one of the best clubhouse presences that we had," said Pittsburgh's Jason Bay. "It's tough to replace guys like that. But this isn't the first trade in baseball that's ever been made. It's part of the game."
New York's order had a need for a hitter like Nady with Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada likely both lost for the season. Marte will slot into the Yankees' bullpen, helping fill the vacancy for a reliable left-handed reliever after serving as the Pirates' closer for the better part of July.
"We've got them for a reason -- hopefully, they come in here and help us out," shortstop Derek Jeter said. "You know, with the Yankees, our ownership always gives us an opportunity to win. It seems like every year, if we need some good pieces to help us win, they go out and get them. This year is really no different than any other."
The 33-year-old Marte was 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA in 47 appearances for Pittsburgh, allowing 38 hits and 18 earned runs in 46 2/3 innings. He is in the second year of a two-year, $4.7 million deal and could be a free agent after the 2008 season if the Yankees do not pick up a $6 million club option on his contract.
"I think everybody would like to have a left-handed reliever in their bullpen as a choice," general manager Brian Cashman said. "We have a right-handed reliever who gets lefties out in a strong way, which is Edwar Ramirez. In theory, you'd always love to have left-handers, to be honest, but that's not always realistic, as we've seen the last few years. It's tough to find."
Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that he was pleased with the bounty Pittsburgh would be receiving.
"We are excited to be able to talk about the players that we are getting back," Huntington said. "If the deal goes through, we feel like we are adding quality depth to our organization."
Tabata, who turns 20 on Aug. 12, was among the Yankees' most touted talents, entering the 2008 season as the organization's third-best prospect, according to Baseball America.
Though he was also rated as the Yankees' best Minor League hitter for average, Tabata's reputation had become clouded this season by incidents at Double-A Trenton, including one that led to his benching after not backing up another outfielder on a fly ball. He was batting .248 with three home runs, 36 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 79 Eastern League games.
Ohlendorf, 26, and Karstens, 26, have Major League experience. The sinkerballing Ohlendorf appeared in 25 games for New York as a reliever this season, going 1-1 with a 6.53 ERA.
Acquired from Arizona in the Randy Johnson trade in January 2007, Ohlendorf had recently been turned back into a starter at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and, through three starts, was maintaining his velocity more, drawing some in the organization to believe that he may begin to project again as a starter.
Karstens has had an injury-plagued run in pinstripes, appearing in New York in 2006 and 2007, but not this season after a strained right groin sidelined him coming out of Spring Training. He was 6-4 with a 3.80 ERA in 12 starts for Triple-A. McCutchen, a 13th-round selection of the Yankees in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, was 8-9 with a 3.14 ERA in 20 combined starts at Double-A and Triple-A.
A lifetime .281 hitter, Nady began his career in 2000 with the Padres, and he played there for four seasons before he was acquired by the Mets in November 2005 for outfielder Mike Cameron.
Nady's first stint in New York lasted just 75 games. He was traded to the Pirates at the Trade Deadline in 2006 when the Mets, having just learned of the season-ending injury to reliever Duaner Sanchez, sent Nady to Pittsburgh in exchange for pitchers Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez.
Marte owns a career record of 21-21 with a 3.47 ERA in 494 Major League games. He was signed by the Mariners as an amateur free agent in 1992, and broke in seven years later with Seattle, though he briefly became Yankees property when he signed as a free agent before the 2001 season.
Dealt to the Pirates for infielder Enrique Wilson in June of that year, Marte began to log more experience with Pittsburgh before pitching four seasons with the White Sox, beginning in 2002. He headed back to the Bucs in a December 2005 trade for outfielder Rob Mackowiak.
With Saturday's win over Boston, New York has won its first eight games coming out of the All-Star break, and 30 of its last 45 to move a season-high 13 games over .500, renewing hope of keeping alive a streak of postseason appearances that dates back to 1995.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.