Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Yankees Don't Need Anybody's Help

"You know you want me."

Although I'd like to see the Yankees trade for Justin Upton, it's hardly a necessity. Just look at the numbers...

As a team the offense has put up 449 runs, good for 3rd best in the American League. They've hit 146 "evil" home runs, tops in the AL by 15. And the Bombers own the 6th best team batting average (.265), 2nd best on-based percentage (.339), and the best slugging percentage (.467), in the younger half of MLB.

The official baseball of the New York Yankees.

Just looking at the Yankee outfielders, the combination of Curtis Granderson (1.9), Nick Swisher (1.5), and Raul Ibanez/Andruw Jones (.5/1.2 = 1.7) have put up a fWAR of 5.1. The two biggest rivals in the AL East are the Boston Red Sox* and Tampa Rays, and the combined fWAR of their starting outfields is 4.8 and 4.7 respectively.
*Boston recently got back Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, which should vastly improve their outfield.

Add all of that to a 10.5 game lead over Boston and Tampa, and it should be crystal clear why the Yankees don't need to do anything.

I, and millions of Yankees fans, believe that too.

Even when looking at the future I'm not 100% sold on trading for Justin Upton. For starters, Upton is signed through the 2015 season for another $38.5 million, meaning if he were to be a Yankee next year he'd basically be on a 3 year deal worth $38.5 million. In his last 3+ seasons Justin's put up a triple-slash of .285/.363/.480. His total fWAR between 2009 and today is 15.7.

On the other hand, in his last 3+ seasons (all with the Yankees), Nick Swisher has put up a triple-slash of .265/.364/.483. His total fWAR between 2009 and today is 12.6. This past offseason Josh Willingham signed a 3 year contract with Minnesota worth $21 million, and his numbers are incredibly close to the one's Swish has put up. The biggest difference between the two men is that Josh is a year older. So it's not "out there" to think Swisher is looking at a contract around 4 years and $40 million this offseason.

Nick: "Wow! So I don't suck as much as some fans think I do?" Me: "Nope."

So production wise, after seeing what the team may need, I don't think the boost in batting average from Swisher to Upton is that big a deal. And the Yankees would be paying Upton around $2 million less for one less year, so that after adding another outfielder for 2016 season to replace Justin, it would cost the Yankees less to re-sign Swisher.

In summary, I'm not saying Nick Swisher > Justin Upton. I'm not saying the reverse either. What I'm saying is that the team doesn't need to make this (or any) move at all. They can compete for a World Series title with what they have, and see what the trade market looks like for an outfielder during the offseason, then compare that to Nick Swisher's demands.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)