Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Trading Nick Swisher

You want to trade me? Seriously? 

I didn't plan on writing about this, but I've heard about this from a few fans already so I felt the need to say it..

The Yankees should not trade Nick Swisher

Now, of course, everybody should be available for the right deal. If the Diamondbacks offered Justin Upton & Miguel Montero for Robinson Cano, then I'd strongly consider that. But the problem is that "right deal" is unlikely to come along.

The only teams that would consider trading for Nick, and take on the remainder of his 2012 salary, would be those teams that are "in the hunt" for a postseason berth. Now, I assume fans would want to make a trade that would make the team stronger. So the question is... why would a team that is "in the hunt" for the playoffs want to make the Yankees stronger, since that team could be facing the Yankees at some point during the postseason? Clearly some other teams are run by idiots, but I don't think they're that dumb.

The Cincinnati Reds, who are my pick to take one of the two Wild Card spots in the National League, would probably love to have Swisher in their lineup. But the Reds are not going to give up somebody with value to 2012 for the guy, as they would basically be making a side-ways deal. Cincinnati would trade away somebody that could help them get to the playoffs this season, for a guy that could help them get to the playoffs this season. So, basically, they would have gained zero ground. And that's assuming they would be okay with paying Swisher about $5 million (what will be remaining on his contract should a mid-season trade occur), and not having the guy under contract for next year or beyond.

The Minnesota Twins, or another team that has it's eyes on future years, might be interested in Swish. However, not only would they not want to pay somebody $5 million for half a season, but they aren't going to want a guy that could be a free agent at season's end either.

Love him or hate him, Nick Swisher can help the Yankees. Fans that don't like Nick will be quick to point out his failures in the postseason, which I admit are plentiful. Take out the 2010 ALDS against the Twins, and the guy has been horrible in the playoffs. But can they, or anybody else, honestly tell me that he didn't help the Yankees get to the postseason in 2009? What about the triple-slash of .288/.359/.511, with 29 home runs, Nick put up in 2010? Swish put up his highest OBP with the Yankees last season, getting on base over 37% of the time, to go along with another 23 home runs... did that not help the Yankees? Nick Swisher's OPS+ while in New York is 124, his average wOBA in his 3+ seasons with the Yankees is .380, and his total WAR in his 3+ seasons as a Yankee is 11.6. You can have your small sample sizes, but I'll look at what he's done as a whole and say "keep him".

Haters also like to say he's a bad right fielder, but unlike the postseason hitting thing, I disagree. Between 2009 and 2011 Swisher's average UZR/150 was 2.3, which is average. Would I like somebody that's well above average manning right field? Sure I would. But with Brett Gardner in left field, Curtis Granderson in center field, and right field in Yankee Stadium hardly being the size of a national park (unlike places such as Petco Park in San Diego), Swisher is plenty good enough. And while, going by UZR, he hasn't started off strong in right this season, he hasn't made an error out there either. So there's really no reason for fans to dump on the guy for his defense, or alledged lack thereof.

My final issue with dealing Swisher has to do with who will replace him. There are a couple guys in AAA, that are out of options, that could be candidates for the job. Dewayne Wise is hitting really well, as he's hit .368/.427/.647, so he seems like a fine replacement. But we're talking about a guy that's hit .219/.256/.373 in 879 MLB plate appearances, so I wouldn't exactly be psyched about him playing everyday in New York. Chris Dickerson is a possibility, as he's currently hitting .350/.409/.500 for Empire State, but I wouldn't feel good about a guy that's struggled quite a bit in his previous 161 MLB plate appearances (in 2010 he hit .206/.250/.268 in 106 plate apperances between Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs, and hit .260/.296/.360 in 55 plate appearances with New York last year).

And then there's Eduardo Nunez. Let me start off by saying I have faith in Nunez, meaning I think he can be a regular MLB player due to both his bat and his glove. Whether he's slotted in as a shortstop or as an outfielder. But he's just not there yet. His current batting average of .278 would be plenty good enough for the team this season, and if he maintained that he'd most likely beat Nick Swisher in that category. But I really don't see Eduardo getting on base 36% of the time like Swisher has in his career, nor do I see Eduardo averaging 27 home runs a season like Swisher has with the Yanks. The sample size as far as defense in right field is way too small to make a true comparison, as Nunez has only played right field a total of 17.1 innings in his pro career (all with the Yankees, and 17 of them last season). But especially after seeing him in left field the last two nights, there's no way that I'd feel as comfortable with him in RF as I would with Swisher out there.

There's no way the Yankees should seek a trade of Nick Swisher. As I've said before, there's a good chance that this is the last season that we'll see Swish-a-licious in New York (at least with the good NY team), but I'm willing to bet that he's the best option... by far... the team has in right field for the rest of the 2012 season.

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