Replacing Nick Swisher at the trade deadline

The outfield situation has been alleviated by the surprise acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners. There’s one problem though. The relief this trade brings is very temporary, ending after this season. With Nick Swisher‘s contract up after this season, the Yankees will have to sign someone to replace him or make a trade in the off-season. Any and all of the Yankees prospects that even have a chance to contribute in the near future won’t arrive until the 2014 season unless something accelerates their development significantly. That said, there are a few trade targets the Yankees could go after that would benefit the team through the 2013 season.

Surprisingly Hunter Pence and Jason Kubel have not come up much in trade talks, yet both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies appear to be sellers at this stage of the game. Both have contracts that expire after the 2013 season, which actually fits perfectly with the Yankees’ austerity budget. Both are prolific players in the midst of excellent seasons. Both are still in the prime of their career, with contracts that end before the decline phase usually starts.

Let’s look at my favorite player first. The unheralded Jason Kubel is putting up one of the best seasons of his career. He’s hitting for a monstrous quadruple slash of .300/.372/.585/.956, and has 21 homeruns and 71 RBI. He is exactly what the Yankees need this season to compete for a title. Kubel plays most of his innings in left field, but is capable of playing right field as well. He fills a need definitively, and he’s a power lefty bat. The contract is two years, $16 million. It’s both cheap and short. Kubel fits in perfectly with the Yankees philosophy, which is patience and power. He’s not known for his defense, which is something Cashman has shown he values recently. In fact, he’s actually known to be a poor defender, but he more than makes up for it with the bat.

With players like Zoilo Almonte, Ramon Flores, Mason Williams, and Tyler Austin coming up through the system, he could be the perfect stop gap to replace Nick Swisher after this season to give those players another year to develop. He also falls into the plan to get under $189 million by 2014. He may not be available, as it appears that Justin Upton is the only one the Diamondbacks are currently shopping. He also may be too expensive, but if he’s cheaper than Upton he’d be a better fit.

Next up is Hunter Pence. We’ve seen this year that the Phillies are willing to shop most of their players, even if they are on multi-year deals. Hunter Pence is another player whose contract expires after the 2013 season. He’s still just 29 years old, and in the prime of his career. Pence is having a down year, with a .271/.338/.457/.796 quadruple slash, but his career numbers would indicate he’s in for a regression to the mean (.290/.342/.482/.824). It also couldn’t hurt to move from the anemic Philadelphia Phillies offense to the booming New York Yankees lineup.

He already has 17 homeruns on the season, with 57 RBIs. He’s stolen four bases. He is alrso a very patient hitter, which would again fit in with the Yankees. His contract is still pretty good, but more expensive than Kubel’s ($10.4 million this season, then arbitration). More importantly, it ends after the 2013 season which would give New York flexibility. His name hasn’t come up in any trade rumors yet, but the Phillies are shopping Shane Victorino, who actually has more years left of team control.

Unfortunately, neither the Phillies or the Diamondbacks have given any indication that they are shopping these players. It can’t hurt to inquire about their availability though, especially if something should change and they should become available. It would stand to reason that the cost for either one of these guys would be hefty, but one would expect them to be less than the price for Justin Upton. I also wonder if Nick Swisher could be included in the deal to make it happen.  I’d hate to see him go, but it wouldn’t kill me send off a guy who has struggled mightily in the playoffs and has a contract that expires after this season anyway.

To me, these two players would represent a happy medium, where the Yankees gave up good players, but not the haul it would take for Justin Upton, while still getting extremely talented players in return.

Hopefully, Cashman has at least checked in on them, and I’m sure he has. It would be real nice to see either one of these two in pinstripes, and in my opinion could make the difference between making the playoffs and competing for a world series.

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13 Responses to Replacing Nick Swisher at the trade deadline

  1. John D. says:

    Have you checked how awful Kubel has been in the playoffs ??…Swisher is not great but much better than Kubel come playoff time.

  2. John D. says:

    Have you checked Kubel's playoff stats ??….Swisher has much MUCH better postseason stats. Swisher is better defensively, better playoff hitter, and his regular season offensive stats compared to Kubel are pretty much a wash….

    So WHY do you want to get Kubel ??

    • Gonzalo says:

      Beacuse Swisher ego won't let him take a contract like Willingham, Quentin or Willingham, if he wants a way more than that forget about him

    • Gregory Corcoran says:

      Exactly, this is a move for the future. Playoff numbers are only a small part of all of this. My point is Swisher's playoff numbers aren't all that great so it's not like we'd be missing out on much if he were to be traded. Truth be told though, playoff numbers mean very little unless there is a large sample size. We've seen A-Rod be a complete choke artist in the playoffs for years then all of a sudden in 2009 he basically won the world series for this team.

      I like Kubel because his contract is cheap, and only two years long. At the same time, he is in the prime of his career and very likely to finish out the season with 35 ish homeruns. Next season shouldn't be too different, and at $8 million that's a bargain. Swisher will almost certainly cost much more.

  3. Pete says:

    Why do you think Swish won't be back?

    • Gonzalo says:

      His price, I think most of Yankees fans would prefer keeping Cano and Granerson over Swisher so you need to find a cheaper answer. Also Swisher playoff numbers are very bad but like Greg C. mentioned It's just small samples

    • Greg Corcoran says:

      The austerity budget. It would be very difficult to afford Swisher, Granderson, and Cano while still staying within the 189 million dollar limit. If they did choose to go that rout, they would likely be handcuffed as far as signing any top dollar free agent pitchers goes. After this season, that will probably be their biggest need.

  4. Frank S. says:

    Trading the popular Swisher in-season would be terrible for team chemistry.

    • Greg Corcoran says:

      Maybe so. Sending Swisher in the trade is merely an option. Definitely not the best option, but it may avoid losing prospects that could help us in the future. Depending on which/how many prospects would have to be traded in order to obtain one of these guys, parting ways with Swisher could be the better choice to improve the team in the long run.

      • Greg Corcoran says:

        Also, getting a dynamic player like Hunter Pence in return could go a long way toward alleviating whatever hit the team chemistry takes.

        • Gonzalo Hiram says:

          I don't see a team far from playoffs positions taking Swisher instead of prospects.

          Anyway Yankees should make a trade and then offer just 12-13m/1year to Swisher so we can get a pick in the draft If he rejects it to aliviate for the prospects we gave. If he accepts the offer we finish with an awesome outfield, it's money for just 1 year and at the end the money we're giving for Ibanez, Jones and Ichiro is already similar.

          • Greg Corcoran says:

            I agree. Very unlikely a team is going to want Swisher. While offering Swisher 12 million would help a little bit to recoup the prospects we would lose in a deal like this, I feel like they would give up a lot in this deal. One pick isn't going to allow them to recoup much. Obviously we'd have to rely on Cashman not to overpay though, and if he could sneak a good deal in there it could be a championship in the making.

  5. Alex D says:

    Nick Swisher belongs on the Yankees – he's a perfect fit – I hope he stays!

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