The Yankees should re-sign Nick Swisher this offseason

Nick Swisher is my favorite Yankee.  Well, my favorite Yankee not named Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, or Mariano Rivera.  How can he not be?

Swisher is easily the most likable Yankee in years, maybe since Bernie Williams.  He plays with an enthusiasm that rivals the kids currently taking part in the Little League World Series, yet he takes great pride in his game and makes every effort to improve himself daily.  He’s an incredible clubhouse presence who gave life to the lifeless Yankees when he was traded to the Bronx after the failed 2008 campaign.

Swisher has also been one of our best hitters and is also incredibly consistent at the dish, averaging 27 home runs, 85 RBI’s and a .267/.368/.486/.854 slash line.  He may not be Willie Mays in the outfield, but he’s made his fair share of spectacular plays over the years.  And easily the best aspect of Nick Swisher is his adoration of Yankees fans, especially the Bleacher Creatures.  How can a player so wildly popular possibly be shipped away when he hits free agency after the season?  In my honest opinion, the first person I want to sign a Yankees contract this offseason is Nick Swisher.

We’ll start with what matters most, Swisher’s on field production.  Find a six hitter who consistently clobbers more home runs per season than most teams’ three hitter, and got on base at a clip north of .370 in two of his last three full seasons.  The findings of that search will be very limited for sure.  For the role he’s asked to play in the Yankees lineup, he’s done nothing but overachieve to the point where Swisher is expected to drive a run in and get on base two or three times each night.

In his All-Star season of 2010, he set career highs in hits (163), triples (3), batting average (.288), slugging percentage (.511) and OPS (.870) among other categories.  He worked 97 walks in 2009 and 95 walks in 2011.  This season is poised to be his third straight season with a batting average of .260 or higher and an on base percentage over .340 as well.  He’s lost a few weeks worth of games this season with various minor injuries, but he will still threaten his career high of 35 doubles.

And hey, did anyone else watch him murder Rangers pitchers this week?  Two home runs and nine RBI’s in a series that could very well become this year’s ALCS was hopefully a glance into the crystal ball, as one of the few knocks on him has been his lack of playoff production.  How well he plays in the postseason will be a big issue when it comes to contract negotiations, and I know I’ll be his biggest fan in October.  But if the Yankees do let Swisher walk in the offseason, who will be manning right field in 2013 and would they actually represent an upgrade?

When it comes to finding a replacement internally, there’s no one anywhere near ready to step in and even come close to replicating what Nick Swisher has given the Yankees.  Top prospects like Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin are still years away while Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte aren’t expected to produce big numbers in the immediate future, so the minors will not produce an effective answer in 2013.  Re-signing either Raul Ibanez or Andruw Jones could work as a stopgap until one of the prospects are ready or a major league talent hits free agency after 2013, but with Ibanez’ age and Jones’ prolonged 2012 slump, it would be asking too much to expect solid outputs from either of them.  This leaves just an offseason move come November, and the big name floated around by fans and writers alike has been Arizona’s young outfielder Justin Upton.

J-Up is one of my favorite non-Yankees players in the league.  Love everything about the guy.   He’s as close to a five tool player as you can get.  In 2011, he clubbed 31 home runs, hit .289, got on base at a .369 clip and stole 21 bases all while playing serviceable defense.  What is music to the ears of many people is that Upton is signed through 2015, even though he’ll be making a somewhat steep $14 million in 2014 and 2015.  But three things turn me off about Upton, making me sway in Swisher’s favor.  First, he’s having a very off year by his standard.  His 2012 season is panning out to be his worst since he became a full time player.  His .272/.358/.402/.760 slash line is closer to his previous worst slash line of .273/.356/.442/.799 back in 2010, and overall his numbers have been up and down each season since 2008.  He’s experienced a major power outage this year, hitting only nine home runs all season and driving in just 46 runs.  Since June 24th (44 games), Upton has only hit two home runs and driven in 16 runs, and he’ll finish far off his career highs for both categories (31 and 88 respectively).  While his potential is through the roof, he’s far from consistent, Swisher’s best attribute.

Upton is also nowhere near as durable as Swisher is. He’s played over 138 games in a season just one time while Swisher has appeared in exactly 150 games in all three seasons in Pinstripes.  For a player to fully realize his potential, he needs to be on the field, and that’s something that Upton has struggled with.  He’s hit the DL twice in his career for oblique injuries. Maybe it’s just me, but I like present production over future potential 99 times out of 100.

That one time out of 100 is when it comes to “gutting the farm system” type trades, and that’s what a deal for Upton would have to be.  I like where our minor league system is right now, and I feel like prospects such as Williams, Austin, Heathcott, Ty Hensley and Gary Sanchez can very well become solid Bronx Bombers in the near future.  Surrendering one or two for a frontline pitcher is fine by me, but swapping half the farm system for the inconsistent, underachieving brother of the even bigger underachiever that is B.J. Upton?  I’ll pass.

Getting back to Swisher, I feel as if he’s one of the most underrated Yankees of the last decade or two.  He’s so much more likable than previous stone faced right fielders such as Bobby Abreu and Gary Sheffield and he’s one of the most consistently solid corner outfielders in the game today.  But that smile, silly snicker and salute to the Section 203 is what makes him a unique and loveable part of the Yankees family.  I just hope the front office doesn’t kick Swish out of the nest, forcing him to fly away.

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15 Responses to The Yankees should re-sign Nick Swisher this offseason

  1. So you want the Yankees to re-sign Swisher. Last week you said they should re-sign Granderson. So does that mean that you want to see them cut ties with Robinson Cano?

    • Chris Barca says:

      My re-sign Granderson column was simply a Pro/Con column partnered with the don't re-sign Granderson column the next day. I like Curtis, but if I had to choose two players out of the trio of Curtis, Cano, and Swisher; I'd choose Swisher and Cano 110 times out of 100

  2. tom says:

    I would offer the qualifying offer to Nick Swisher. If he takes it, it will allow Mesa, Almonte, Banuelos, Warren and Marshall to have one more year to increase their trade value for Bruce or Upton after 2013 season.

    If Swisher declines it and signs elsewhere, Yanks get 1st round pick. The focus will shift to Granderson for RF job.

    • Gonzalo says:

      This is the best idea, with big contracts you finish paying them for bad years at the end. We already have CC, Teixeira and ARod for those porblems in future years.

      Cano is out of questions, he has to be here.

      Yankees can get under the 189 and keep a very good team, take this year for example, main guys getting injured all the time and we are still 1st. Also there is room to get smart with Granderson and Swisher.

      Get the $13M Option for Granderson, a qualifying offer for Swisher and next year the same with Granderson just a qualifying offer. You get them for decent prices and If they reject it you get good draft picks.

      • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

        I agree with everything you say except for the Cano part, which would depend on the years and amount involved. But even then, it's very debateable whether the Yanks should sign him at all except at a bargain. He'll be 31.5 years by the time his next contract kicks in on opening day of 2014. Based on the historical stats of the best 2nd baseman, the Yanks would be lucky to get even 1 great year out of him.

        Adams has been an offensive force at second base at the AA level. If he can stay healthy through 2013, I would give serious thought to giving him a chance as the new second baseman. He will also be several years younger and under team control for the totality of his best years. Even if he probably won't be as good as Cano, it's best to pay him a pittance and use that money elsewhere if the Yanks are trying to field the best overall team.

        The thing that really disgusts me about Cano is that the guy has no comprehension of the word hustle. He practically walks out of the batters box on routine grounders and fly balls. There is obviously a big part of me that wants to keep him (even as costly as he is) because he could be a Yankee HoFer who spend his entire career with the team but only if the contract is reasonable.

  3. JoJo says:

    So, the Yankees should re-sign Swisher because: a) he's likeable b) you don't want to trade for Upton c) he had a nice 2010 d) and he had a nice series against the Rangers.

    Come on, this site can do better.

  4. TapDancingTeddy says:

    I don't have an issue with any of your reasons in preferring a Swisher signing. Swisher seems more consistent from year to year, and while that doesn't prove he'll outperform Granderson forward, it seems a better bet.

    The problem with both Swisher and Granderson is that they are already 31. Most players perform very differently in their thirties than in their prime years. For instance, Mark Teixeira from age 24-29 hits .295/.385/.554. Since then he's at .253/.349.488. Now only 32, expectations for Tex's production are much lower than when he came to the team.

    Given that pattern of decline tends to affect most players between 30-33 years of age, we've probably seen the best of Swish and Grandy . What's left could be okay to ugly, and if Granderson's contact-making skills decline a bit more, he's likely to look ugly.

    That's the one true reason Justin Upton is a likeable addition. His best stat is his age. He's only 25 next year, and if the Yankees got him they'd be getting what should be his prime years. Still, I wouldn't be put off by a bad 2012. From 2009-2011 he was .288/.364/.503, and I expect this year is just a bump in the road.

    Still, getting Upton will be prospect expensive, and keeping him past age 27 will probably be very conventionally expensive. That's why I don't do too much complaining about our GM, Brian Cashman. It is so hard to decide what to do, and even harder, when you're not supposed to miss the playoffs. Ever.

    It is very, very difficult to create a team with players in their best years, players who provide years of forward value. And the Yankees constantly trade youth and possibility for track record. So fans get to see our prospects on the upswing on other teams. Robinson Cano, currently our best hitter, was put on the block at least twice that I've heard about, and what would this team be doing without him?

    Despite all the playoff appearances, the future is always a bit cloudy with the Yanks. There are no easy solutions here, but if it were me, I'd trade Granderson and keep Swisher. As for a free agent to fill the gap in center, Michael Bourn will be 30 next year, Melky Cabrera, 28 and B.J. Upton, 28. So there you have: not a good long term buy vs. steroids vs. poor attitude. Who would I pick? Whoever was cheapest.

    But wait! I have to win another World Series and it must be now! So Michael Bourn is the choice and in two to three years, I'd probably be wondering how I can get him off the team, cause he's hitting .260/.320/.360, and thats not worth the ??MM a year he's being paid.

  5. mike rook says:

    I like Swisher and I feel that the Yankees will make him a short term offer that he will refuse because he will be able to get a longer term offer on the open market. People have been overpaying for a couple of good years on a player knowing darn well they will get stuck with a couple of bad years on the end. Two years 18mill is fair he wont take it because hes likely to get four from another team. I like Upton too, but he might be out of our price range. If we just need a placecard the Yankees could squeeze one more year out of Ichiro. I know you all are looking at me like im crazy but you all said i was crazy when I said Jeter was going to bat 300 and have 200 hits this season too.

  6. Keena says:

    It's disgusting to hear about someone being out of the Yankees price range. They should resign Swisher for one reason, he's a very good player who's numbers are impossible to replace with in house options. They need to get off this cheap kick and be the New York Yankees, not the Kansas City Royals.

  7. Derrick says:

    Ok you sign ichiro, and swisher , you still have brett gardner and you know they will give melky a look, the yankees will have alot of options , but i want a title this season so lets focus on hoping nicky swish and A-Rod produce because if A-rod and swish hit good thing if one hits and the other dont thats runners left on we need, they both need to hit for us to win they seem to have the most important atbats.

  8. raymond vega says:

    pillies really tie them selve up with that staff and now they will be playing golf.we cant sign everybody.

  9. I love Swishers numbers, attitude he my favorite Right Fielder since Paul Oneil. He should be resigned not matter what it costs over trading the farm away for Upton and who else is out there? I would say Jay Bruce if they can get him but that is it. The Yankees say they want to get under 189 mil but they always find a way to pay and get into the playoffs. Speaking of playoffs I hope Swish has a monster post season silencing the critics then getting another contract in PINSTRIPES that he rightfully deserves…..

  10. Roger says:

    Swisher has been a fine player during the regular season but a complete bust in the post season, which from the
    Yankee perspective is everything. The Yankees can always get a decent outfielder without selling off their prospects who is adequate for the regular season. Swisher has failed when it has mattered most, the playoffs. If he desires a large contract, let him walk.

  11. Shantell says:

    Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual
    effort to create a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and
    never manage to get nearly anything done.

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