Nick Swisher said it “hurt” that the Yankees never made him an offer

Before the offseason started there were rumors that Nick Swisher was looking for Jayson Werth type money (more than $100 million) as a free agent so it made sense that the Yankees, unwilling to overpay, would look elsewhere for an outfielder.

Then came another disappointing playoff performance and it was clear that Swish wouldn’t be getting his $100 million pay day, but it was still thought that he would get a lot. He eventually got four-years and $56 million to play for the Indians which comes out to just $14 million a year.

Considering that is basically what the Yankees paid Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui on similar deals it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable deal at all. However, even when his price tag dropped Swisher never heard from the Yankees, they never floated possibilities, there was no attempt at all to reach out to him. They offer him a qualifying offer so they could get their draft pick and Swisher never heard from them again.

“It hurt,” Swisher told Dan Martin of the NY Post. “When you are in a place for four years, that’s a long time in baseball years. You develop some relationships, and sometimes when you leave, that’s not what you want to do…

“When it boils down to it, they didn’t come to me,” said Swisher. “They didn’t even offer anything. So in a situation like that, as much as I loved that city and as hard as it was for me to leave, I had to do what was best for my family and myself.”

Not overpaying is one thing. When a guy starts out talking about Jayson Werth money that’s one thing, but along the way Cleveland got Swisher on a very reasonable deal. Not only would it have been nice to have Swisher still in this lineup, it would have been great to have a backup first baseman for Mark Teixeira, who has been injured every year in Pinstripes.

It’s a sign that the Yankees are very serious about their goal of $189 million by 2014. Just look at the Vernon Wells trade. The Yankees are basically paying Wells what they could be paying Swisher, but the big difference is that they won’t be paying Wells in 2014 when the $189 million mandate kicks in.

We saw a lot of that over the winter. The Yankees almost refused to make anybody multi-year offers, although they did eventually give one to Ichiro Suzuki. But there were rumors that Brian Cashman didn’t have the authority to make offers to free agents he wanted. He wanted to, but never made offers to Eric Chavez, Jeff Keppinger, or Nate Schierholtz.

So this is what we get, a team that has set a record with an over $230 million payroll, but one with major flaws, many injuries and almost no future money tied up with anyone not named Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, or CC Sabathia.

• Hiroki Kuroda said before yesterday’s game that he would not be at 100 percent due to his bruised finger, but he said afterward that once he was on the mound he didn’t think about it.

• Derek Jeter took about 40 ground balls yesterday in Tampa. A small step, but it’s his first infield work since his setback.

• It seemed that Eduardo Nunez would miss more time than he did, but after he took batting practice yesterday he cleared himself to play.

• Lefty reliever Cesar Cabral threw a simulated game yesterday and will throw an extended spring training game on Friday. He’s on the 60-day DL so he’s not eligible to come back until June, but it sounds like he’ll definitely be back by then.

• The Yankees bullpen phone wasn’t working yesterday. Whenever that happens on the road I always wonder if somebody is messing with them.

• You can buy Yankees tickets even for road games through TiqIQ.

(Photo by Flickr user Keith Allison)

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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18 Responses to Nick Swisher said it “hurt” that the Yankees never made him an offer

  1. James Dogg says:

    Johnny Damon has a 30 pt higher batting average, strikes out about half as often and was a proven clutch performer when the yanks signed him, it really is not a comparison–I loved Swish but Cleveland overpaid by a lot

    • Tanned Tom says:

      Swisher was acquired for nothing to play 1B, then shifted to RF when the club signed Teixeira, and was capable at both positions. Damon was signed to play CF, lost that position to Melky Cabrera (!) because he COULD NOT THROW AT ALL, and shunted to LF. Even there he was a defensive liability. Swisher was a bargain for the Yanks whereas Damon really wasn't. Different types of players. In the long run power and defense is more valuable than BA and base running.

  2. Rob Abruzzese says:

    In their age 28-31 seasons (the years before Damon signed with the Yankees and Swisher with the Indians) Damon hit .295/.362/.441 and Swisher hit .268/.367/.483. Damon has the edge batting average-wise, but BA tells only a small part of the picture. Swisher holds a slight edge in OBP and a significant edge in SLG. I would say that's similar.

    I don't think the Indians overpaid for Swisher at all. They didn't get a steal either. Leaving out his option, I would say it's fair for both the team and the player.

    • mikefoxtrot says:

      I also think that Cleveland didn't greatly overpay for Swisher as they wanted him for more than just his on-field performance..

      Swish wanted to be paid well and wanted a bunch of years on the contract. It wasn't in the interests of the Yankees to spend that much to retain him

    • Fred says:

      When put that way its absolutely amazing that the Yankees got Swisher for what they did. I mean, he was a comparable ballplayer to Johnny Damon and we acquired him for Wilson Betemit, One of Cashman's finest hours as Yankees GM.

  3. Paula says:

    Miss you Nick….come back to NY!

    • mikefoxtrot says:

      when he plays out thi contract, he'll be nearly old enough to return, especially if he learns how to play in the post-season by then. come to think of it, the Indians might not make the post-season more than once in the next four years.

  4. Michael R. says:

    The Yanks were looking for an excuse to unload him and got it when he criticized the NY fans. That being said, I think it was in the best interest of both parties that he not return. Really too bad he could never seem to crank it up in the post season.

  5. olie says:

    Sorry to disagree but Damon was a much better player than Swisher. A better outfielder (Poor arm) he played center.
    A better hitter (batting first on a World Series winning team) he hit in the playoffs and very had good speed. Nothing against Swisher but he didn't deserve the contract from the yanks that Damon received!

    • Damon in his pre-Yankees days was a better fielder, absolutely, but I'm not sure he was while in PInstripes especially in the final two years. Consider that he couldn't throw anybody out, ever, I think he's better than Swisher not by a lot though.

      As for where he hit in the lineup, that doesn't make a bit of difference.

      Yes, Damon was faster too.

      I'm not saying that Swisher is definitely better than Damon, I'm saying they're similar enough.

      • Mark Panuthos says:

        Damon showed up in the playoffs – remember that extra base he got when he caught the Phillies sleeping in 2009?

        • Well obviously that's the big difference between the two. Nick wasn't useful during the playoffs which had to have played a part in not keeping him too. For some reason I don't think it was a very big part. More of an excuse to get them off the hook for not retaining a popular player than anything else.

  6. guest says:

    If you look at Swisher's contract, it is really a 5 year contract instead of a 4 year deal. The fifth year kicks in if he has over 550 PA in 2016 for 14 million, at age 37. The last time he had fewer than 550 PA was in 2005.

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  8. YankeezFan says:

    I think you are forgetting that the Yankees wanted to bring back Ichrio which was a cheeper option, and played much better in the playoffs than Swisher, and is better defensively, for probably half the salary. Ichiro fit into Yankee plans better than Swisher did. Swisher declined a 13.3 M option, so the Yankees are assuming he wanted in the 14M range (No hometeam discount), which probably made him over paid in comparison to Ichiro. And with Granderson, and Cano coming FA next year, the Yankees needed cheeper good options at outfield. The best scenario was the Yankees have Ichrio, Gardner, and Granderson in the outfield, and just add a 4 or 5th that could double as a right handed DH. I think your comparing Swish to the wrong guy, in comparison to Damon, different players and a different time, when Yankees didnt have a spending limit, when they first signed Damon. Remember the Yankees didnt even want to give Damon a 2 year 12M deal. Only thought Damon was worth 10M and 1 year in 2010, when the contract needed to be negotiated. So to say Damon is better, but Swisher should get more, is really not logical.

  9. I'm not saying that anybody is better. I'm saying that in the past they gave out similar contracts to similar outfielders in both Damon and Matsui. The difference this year was that they won't spend the money.

    As far as bringing back Ichiro at a cheaper price…well, he's 39 and you get what you pay for.

    • YankeezFan says:

      Yes, you do get what you pay for… for 6M you get a better fielder, better arm, and a better hitter. Granted you dont get Swishes personality, but i think the players will get over that part of Swish. And when you draw comparisions to players, you are making a statement as to which is better or not. As for the contracts in the past, lets leave them there. The Yankees seem to have a way to 'catch lightining in a bottle' with old guys coming in to play for them during the regular season, now they just need to find those players who can do it in the playoffs. Sorry, Swish was not one of them that thrived during the playoffs, when he was a Yankee, and i think that had more to do with it than anything.

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