Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Nick Swisher's Not-So-Great Reunion

Earlier today Daniel mentioned the team bringing back Nick Swisher, and what might need to happen to see him with the Yankees. I wanted to give my thoughts on Swish's return, so here goes...

"I'm back, baby!!!"

Like Paul O'Neill (happy birthday!), one of my favorite players of all time, Nick earned the love of Yankees fans. He was a big part of their run to the 2009 World Series title, batting .249/.371/.498 with 29 home runs. He continued that production in 2010, batting .288/.359/.511 to go along with another 29 home runs, including a spot in that season's All Star game. And while his final two years in New York weren't as productive, Swish still hit .266/.369/.461 with 47 homers between the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

After signing with the Cleveland Indians before the 2013 season, Nick turned in a batting line of .246/.341/.423, with 22 home runs. Not quite what he was doing in the previous four years with the Yankees, but good enough that many Yankees fans wondered if it was a mistake to let him go.

Then came the 2014, which saw Swishalicious theoretically fall of the cliff. He slashed .208/.278/.331, and was only able to hit eight homers. However, he faced some health issues that season, which led to him only appearing in 97 games that season. So perhaps that poor production was just an anomoly.

"Like when I saw this picture, one word came to mind... 'nope'."

His start to the 2015 season was no better. Actually, it was worse. Nick batted .198/.261/.297 with just two home runs in 30 games for the Tribe. He was then traded to Atlanta, where he was able to improve slightly (.195/.349/.339 and four home runs, in 46 games).

That brings us to this, the 2016 season. in which the Braves decided to pay $15 million for Swisher not to play for them. That was back on March 28th, so for more than a month nobody was willing to sign him despite only having to pay him the league minimum. Which in and of itself is pretty telling.

Now he's a Yankee again, albeit in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he will fight for at bats with Chris Parmelee, Deibinson Romero, and Cesar Puello. But thanks to Mark Teixeira not being the most durable player, there's a chance he'll get another shot in the Majors again.

I hate to say it, being a fan of the guy for what he did in his prior stint in pinstripes, not to mention him being a former Ohio State Buckeye, but if Swisher ends up playing for the Yankees again that will be a bad thing.

Not just because Swisher has been really bad the previous two years, but because he would likely be filling in for Mark Teixeira... the guy that was the team's best hitter last season, and is off to a very good start this year (.278/.381/.611 with two home runs).

Furthermore, Swisher's playing in New York would not only mean an injury to Mark Teixeira would have happened, but also would likely mean somebody in the outfield went down, which led to Dustin Ackley being the team's 4th outfielder.

Oh, and if Swisher were needed in the outfield, that not only would mean an injury to one or more of Beltran, Ellsbury, Gardner, Hicks, and Ackley, but that would mean Aaron Judge wasn't doing enough in AAA for the team to give him a look in the big league.

By the way, I didn't even mention the fact that Swisher is not a good fielder any more, especially in the outfield. So the team would not only lose a big chunk of offense with his bat replacing somebody like Teixeira's, but would lose a big chunk of defense by replacing anybody in the outfield not named Carlos Beltran.

I'm sorry I have to be the guy that rains on Swisher's parade. I would like nothing more than for circumstances surrounding his return to the Yankees to be better. But that's simply not the case. Nick Swisher is not at all the same player we saw 3+ years ago for the Bombers.

So I, for one, will be a Yankees fan that will cheer for the guy, but be happy that he's not needed by the big club.

"Sorry it's not 2009 again, guys."

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