Yankees' bounty could aid Giants

Yankees' bounty could aid Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- If the New York Yankees' signing of free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira prompts them to make a trade, the Giants could be the beneficiaries.

The New York Post speculated that the Yankees might entertain trading Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher to trim the payroll slightly and thin the crowd at first base, the corner outfield spots and at designated hitter. Among this quartet, the Giants, who are searching for an offensively proven corner infielder, could be intrigued by either Nady or Swisher.

The Giants typically do not comment on trade possibilities, but general manager Brian Sabean has acknowledged the need to acquire a corner infielder to complement Pablo Sandoval, who can play first or third base. Sandoval, who hit .345 in 41 late-season games in 2008, was batting .396 in 51 games for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League and is virtually assured of a place in San Francisco's lineup.

Nady, 30, has the intangibles the Giants would love. He was born in Carmel, graduated from Salinas High School and attended Cal-Berkeley, where he broke school records for home runs and RBIs.

Nady's primarily an outfielder, but has appeared at first base in 75 of his 672 games. He also has played third base three times. Having spent his entire career in the National League with San Diego, the New York Mets and Pittsburgh before being traded to the Yankees last summer, Nady is a .302 career hitter at AT&T Park (16-for-53), although he has only one home run and three RBIs there.

Nady enjoyed his best season in '08, batting .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs. He owns a .280 career average in slightly more than five Major League seasons.

Nady's contract status could eliminate him from the Giants' consideration, however. He'll be eligible for free agency after the 2009 season, and Sabean has steadfastly refused to try to acquire players entering their "walk" year. He's currently eligible for salary arbitration after earning $3.35 million last season.

Hot Stove

Swisher, 28, was traded to the Yankees earlier this offseason from the Chicago White Sox, for whom he hit .219 with 24 homers and 69 RBIs. He spent his four previous seasons with Oakland and is a .244 career hitter with 104 homers. Swisher's plate discipline has helped him average 93 walks in the last three seasons, swelling his career on-base percentage to .354.

Swisher, who has made 202 appearances at first base in 611 games, would be more attractive to the Giants than Nady from a contractual standpoint. He's owed $19.05 million through 2011, and his contract includes a club option of $10.25 million with a $1 million buyout in 2012.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.