Nick Swisher is set to be a free agent this offseason and the early indication is that he’s going to set out to look for a deal similar to what Jayson Werth got from the Nationals, or $126 million over seven years, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
It seems crazy at first, but it’s not all that surprising that he would at least enter the market asking for that much money. He might get it, he might not, but he very well could come close.
Looking at the numbers, they are similar. Both will have hit free agency at 31. In the three years before free agency Werth hit .279/.376/.513 with a 132 OPS+. Swisher hit .274/.364/.481 with a 124 OPS+. Both have a similar average with Werth being slightly more patient at the plate with slightly more power too.
There are differences. Over that same three year stretch, Werth swiped 48 more bases and also showed a bit more versatility as he can also play center field. The biggest difference might come in the playoffs though. Werth has hit .268/.379/.608 in 44 playoff games while Swisher hit a terrible .169/.295/.323 in 38 games.
So while Werth is definitely the better player overall there isn’t a huge gap between the two (except for when it comes to October). Swisher does have time to improve his postseason numbers though. If he does it doesn’t seem outlandish that he could approach Werth’s $126 million figure.
When all is said and done I don’t think it’s realistic to expect him to get the full $126 million though. It’s possible that he gets as much as $18 million per season (the average annual value of Werth’s deal), but probably more like five years instead of seven. My guess is that the final number is somewhere in the five-year, $80 million range.
What all of this means is that Swisher is very likely pricing himself out of the Bronx. With the Yankees looking to lower payroll to $189 million by 2014 and Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson both set to become free agents by then it’s hard to see them fitting something like that into their plans.