Yankees 2011 Season in Review: Nick Swisher

The Yankees fleeced the White Sox when they traded an inconsistent infielder and two not so promising prospects for Nick Swisher after the 2008 season. The idea at the time was that he was going to replace Jason Giambi at first base, but the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira a little more than a month later and Swish has been the starting right fielder ever since.

EXPECTATIONS: Based on Swisher’s first two season in the Bronx it was more than fair to expect another season where he would play 150 games, put up a .360 OBP and a .850 OPS while playing solid defense. He has never been expected to carry the Yankees offense, but he’s often been one of the best No. 6 hitters in baseball.

SLOW START: From the start of the season until May 28th, Swisher was ice cold. His patience at the plate was consistent as usual, but his batting average dropped to .206 over his first 46 games, pulling his OPS down to a lowly .609. The Yankees were just 24-22 over that span.

A HOME RUN IN SEATTLE: Swisher homered on May 29th in Seattle and that turned his entire season around. In his final 104 games last year he had a hearty .397 OBP and a .916 OPS. The Yankees were 65-39 in that stretch, it pays to have a good No. 6 hitter.

NO MR. OCTOBER HERE: Swisher once again had a tough October. In five games against the Tigers he had a .250 OBP and a .618 OPS. In 38 career playoff games his OBP is down to .295 and OPS is .617.

VERDICT: Swisher makes a big difference in the Yankees success when he is going well. Just look at how the team did early when he struggled and how well the played when he started rolling. Some fans were being absurd when they suggested the Yankees don’t pick up his option. There are some 90 starting outfielders in baseball and Swisher easily ranks in the top 20 of those.

The biggest knock on him is his playoff success, or lack of it. To that I say – there is a reason we don’t pick the MVP’s in May. Over a short sample size anything can happen. Eventually with enough at bats even Swisher will settle down and go on a nice stat correcting tear. We’ve seen glimpses of it. Back in 2006 he had a very strong ALDS for Oakland. Again in 2010 he put up big numbers in the ALDS against the Twins. He just has to get and sustain some success and that .617 OPS will shoot back up.

GOING FORWARD: Swisher has is playing on the final year of his contract that will pay him $10.25 million. After a three-year deal is not out of the question. He’ll be 32-years-old and no other very attractive options are hitting the market, especially if the Yankees want to get under a $189 million payroll. Based on what Josh Willingham just got from the Twins and what the rumors surrounding Michael Cuddyer are, a three-year $33 million deal sounds about right. Of course, that could change if the Yankees land Yoenis Cespedes this offseason.

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8 Responses to Yankees 2011 Season in Review: Nick Swisher

  1. Tanned Tom says:

    Bringing him back was a no-brainer. He's productive, good in the clubhouse, and something of a bargain. After 2012 things get a bit murky. He'll be 32 and looking for a multiyear deal. With so many over 30 players, the team might want to go younger there. But this was certainly the best trade Cashman has pulled off, one of the better OFs for just about nothing.

  2. Gonzalo says:

    I'm not a Swisher's fan at all but Cashman should offer him an extension exactly like Willingham's contract, If he asks for more then forget about him and go stronger after Cespedes

    • Gonzalo says:

      Total AVG OBP SLG OPS
      Swisher .254 .360 .466 .826

      Willingham .262 .361 .475 .836

      • Swisher is a better defender and has a much better track record heath wise. Also, he's younger. 3 reasons Swisher will get more.

        • Gonzalo says:

          Come on Rob, Younger? Really? He is just one year younger that's not a point to compare.

          I'm not saying Swisher should earn less, even when he is one of the most playoffs useless Yankee starter-player, I'm just thinking ahead to see If we really need Cespedes or Soler because for 2014 It's going to be very difficult to keep Granderson, Swisher and Gardner and a solid rotation. Just thinking about it makes me hate the A Rod contract.

          • One year makes a difference.

          • Gonzalo says:

            In professional athletes after 20-25 years old, 1 year doesn't make any difference, Is your health record what makes the difference and Swisher is better there.
            Cliff Lee is 1 year older than Johan Santana, Would you take Santana like a younger athlete than Lee? Or Kubel over Swisher being 2 years younger? Like you said before is the track.

            And again, I'm not saying something against Swisher age, It's good for an extension, I'm just thinking in the amount of money, cause If they are hiring nothing right now, I hope they have a plan and It's not continue with Nova, Hughes, Dickerson, Maxwell and Nuñez

  3. Shavager says:

    I can remember times when Swisher carried the team by himself last year, expect Yankees will resign him. Swisher has been a diamond last couple of years when other stars let down (ARod and Jeter's first half of '10 season), his bat has really improved and he's still young enough to partrol RF. If it was a choice between Willingham and Swish, I'll take Swish anytime. Cuddyer is a dependable player but Yankees are better off with the Swish in RF.