What about Swish?


At MLBTR last night, Tim linked to a post by Ken Davidoff – blogging MVP of the GM Meetings – mentioning that the Yanks & ChiSox have had “extremely preliminary” talks about former Moneyball draft pick Nick Swisher. The soon-to-be 28 yr old is coming off the poorest season of his young career, a season in which he hit just .219-.332-.410 in nearly 500 at-bats. With strong competition expected for Mark Teixeira‘s services, Swish represents a possible Plan B for a first base.

Carlos Quentin & Jermaine Dye are locked into Chicago’s corner outfield spots, and Paul Konerko & Jim Thome fill the first base & DH spots, meaning Swish is seemingly a man without a position. Even though he could play centerfield in a pinch, he’s not equipped to man that spot on a full-time basis. He’s played first more than any other position in his career, committing just 10 errors in over 1,660 total chances (.994 fielding %) at the first sack.

Despite the down season, Swish still did what he does best in 2008: get on base. His 82 walks were good for eighth in the league, and he led the majors by a significant margin with 4.51 pitches seen per plate appearance. Take a second to get your head around that number. Never one to hit for a high average, Swish’s line drive rate (20.9%) was the best of his career in 2008, but his .251 BABIP was a career low, suggesting that his .219 batting average may have been the product of some plain ol’ bad luck. His IsoP was down a touch to .191, but he still managed to send 24 balls into the people. A switch-hitter, Swish hits for more pop from the left side, but hits for a higher avg from the right.

Drafted one pick after Scott Kazmir and one pick before Cole Hamels in 2002, Swisher’s tool set is still a desirable one despite the down year. More athletic than he looks, Swish’s defense doesn’t compare to Teixeira’s, but he’s very good at first and adequate at the three outfield spots. Anyone who saw him during his time in Oakland knows he’s a great clubhouse guy (I didn’t see him much with the Sox, so I can’t speak to that), always the first one on the top step to high-five a teammate after a big hit. He would provide the Yanks a great deal of roster flexibility, capable of staying in the lineup at another position if, say Juan Miranda gets hot for two weeks.

So what would it take to get Mr. Swisher? I have no frickin’ idea. Kenny Williams is rumored to be on the lookout for a centerfielder/leadoff hitter, and presumably pitching. Johnny Damon might be a candidate to head to the South Side, but that would open up a hole in the outfield to fill a hole on the infield. A straight one-for-one deal is unlikely. Swisher’s contract is reasonable (he’s locked up for $21.05M total over the next three years w/ a $10.25M option or $1M buyout for 2012), and unlike Xavier Nady this summer, the Yanks would be buying low on the former Ohio State star.

Teixeira might be the sexy name, but Swish offers the same on-base skills from both sides of the plate while still providing a good amount of power and above-avg defense, all without the hassle of Scott Boras and a nine-figure contract negotiation. He hasn’t been on the disabled list since a shoulder issue sidelined him for three weeks during his rookie season, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that he has a plus-plus girlfriend. What do you think, seems like Swish would be a solid buy-low candidate, right?

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. andrew says:

    I like it. As reported this morning, the Angels are prepared to pay big money to retain Texiera and while there is no doubt he is the better player, Swisher is a very solid plan B. He will no doubt improve upon last season’s numbers, get on base and play good defense while backing up in the outfield all for a reasonable contract. Although I don’t think Damon for Swisher really helpsus, this is something that should be investigated.

  2. pat says:

    holy sh*t that chick is hot,, were you saying something about baseball?

  3. A.D. says:

    If the Tex angle falls it really not a bad move, bring in a switch with power and the ability to pay the OF & 1B isn’t a bad plan.

    It really comes down what the Sox are looking for, if they’re just looking to dump a player they don’t have a position for then its a good deal, if they see him as a trade chip….not so much.

    Can’t say I’m for it, but I’m not against it

  4. A.D. says:

    Swisher could add to the Yankees Grit factor

  5. Adam says:

    i love this line from moneyball about swisher:

    “Billy [spoke] of Swisher in the needy tone of a man who has been restrained for too long from seeing his beloved. Swisher is his picture bride.”

  6. radnom says:

    Would everyone call him “Swish” all the time?

    If so, I am against it.

  7. Scott of 3 Kids Tickets says:

    Keep the chick…Loose the Swish.

    No thanks. .219 is .219.

    If we want .219 we can keep Giambi.


    • whozat says:

      Way to boil down the offensive contributions of two players to one of the less meaningful metrics available to us.

      While hitting third wouldn’t make sense, necessarily, his on-base skills could definitely play well late in the lineup. Extend some innings, get on base for Johnny and Jeter, perhaps.

    • steve (different one) says:

      No thanks. .219 is .219.

      did you read the post? the part about his line drive % and BABIP?

    • FUZZY DUNLOP says:

      Brosius batted just over .200 his last year in Oakland! He turned out to be a pretty good pickup. He knew how to play the game right

    • Count Zero says:

      Except Swisher is better defensively (granted — defense at 1B is overrated) and can play decent LF or RF.

      Which means that in a scenario where say…some aging guy signed to play C has to move to 1B…he can still get in the lineup. Swisher gives you flexibility — which is the very antithesis of Giambi.

      I could be convinced that with Miranda looming and Montero and Romine working up the ladder — trading for Swisher and signing Manny or Dunn for 3 years would be better than signing Tex to 7x$22MM…maybe…possibly. It’s interesting anyway. And Tex just might not be do-able. If I’m the Angels, no way I let him walk unless someone offers him silly money.

  8. Bruno says:

    I’d love to grab Swish if we don’t get Tex. Think he’d hit 3rd in front of A-Rod? That would help those numbers bounce back right?

  9. robert skollar says:

    Just saw the girlfriend…
    Throw in Mariano and Hughes.

  10. E-ROC says:

    I wouldn’t trade Damon for Swisher. Maybe Melky and a bullpen arm would get it done. Kenny Williams does want his team to get younger and more athletic. Melky gives them an athlete and a bullpen arm would help sweeten the deal.

  11. SAMIAMSPORTS says:

    Ive been a swisher guy since he was drafted. If the yanx could somehow manage to get him in a buy low situation I would be thrilled, this is if they dont want to pony up the dough or lose out on Tex in a bidding war. plus that girl is smokin hot….

  12. Mike Pop says:

    Realistically what would it take ? IPK is that too much yea right

  13. frank says:

    I’ve wanted the Yanks to get Swish for 3 years. I love his overall positive energy. Simply put, the guy is throw back ball player who gives you ultimate effort 100% of the time for 9 innings.

  14. Ron says:

    While Swisher would certainly be an adequate plan B, it all depends on what we have to give up for him. If it’s Damon, that creates two holes – one in the outfield and one in the lead-off spot, as you wouldn’t bat Swisher lead-off. Bottom line, it all depends on what K Williams demands. If it’s any of the good stuff (Hughes, AJax, Melancon, Cano) forget it. If it’s Damon and a throw-in (Horne, Marquez, Betemit), then okay.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Jeter bats leadoff. next issue.

      • radnom says:

        Wow, don’t be such a dick.

        Who takes Damon’s role in the OF then.

        Swisher for Damon is not a deal that is likely to improve them team NEXT year, it would be looking down the line a bit.

        • steve (different one) says:

          Wow, don’t be such a dick.

          sorry, my bad.

          i am looking at Swisher as an OFer, not a 1Bman. so Swisher would replace Damon in the OF. Jeter would hit leadoff.

          continue to pursue Teixeira.

          • radnom says:

            Thats alright, it came off to me as really dismisive but ill assume you didn’t intend it.

            I’m not sure I buy Swisher as of OF replacement.
            He doesn’t have much more power than Damon (although Damon had the short porch) and you would seriously be downgrading in OBP, SLG, and strikeouts.
            Even if his peripherals even out next year it is still very unlikely he will outproduce Damon next season and corner OF is typically the easiest position to fill via FA.

            Now if we miss out on Tex and need someone to fill 1B for a few years, I could see this making a lot of sense.

  15. DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

    I would rather sign Kevin Millar or Douggie M.

    I really am not a fan of Swisher, or most of the roiders formerly on the A’s.

    Swisher flat out stinks and is not good at any position. A crappy fielder who hits .219 and might be on roids, no thanks.

    • steve (different one) says:

      wait, how is Swisher on roids? where is this coming from?

      haven’t we had testing since 2005?

    • Joseph P. says:

      “Swisher flat out stinks and is not good at any position. A crappy fielder who hits .219 and might be on roids, no thanks.”

      The only part of that statement you can back up with facts is the .219. Who says he’s a crappy fielder? Who says he’s on roids? Flat out stinks? You might want to look beyond this past year.

    • Yank Crank 20 says:

      This is a completely blind statement. Never tested positive for any substance…and just because somebody who had a couple productive years, and is muscular, then has a poor year doesn’t automatically mean he was a roider. If you think he flat out stinks, supply more evidence than just his BA from 2008.

  16. Yank Crank 20 says:

    Here’s the deal…would you trade Damon’s wife for Swish’s gf?

    I say yes.

  17. FUZZY DUNLOP says:

    Nick Swisher would be a great fit for the Yankees at 1b. He is a very good fielder at 1b and also pretty good outfielder. Can play all three outfield positions if needed, although not your typical centerfielder. He sees a ton of pitches as did Bobby Abreu. As for the average, he is better than the .219 he put up this year. Swish prefers to have a patient approach, while the WhiteSox this year asked him to be aggresive and it really put him in a whole early this season. He has the ability to put up 30+ hrs 85-100 rbi with a .260 avg.He hits a ton of line drives to the gaps and walks a ton. Swisher is a gamer, he gives 110% every game and is liked by all the guys in the clubhouse. He plays the game the way it should be played. (running hard, team first, sacrificing his body). The Yankees need a guy who is hard nosed, young (28), and cheap. Swish fits! I know he is no Texiera but Swish brings it every night and you wont have to pay him 20 million a year for 7-10 years. Swisher brings youth, toughness, and flexibilty to the Yanks. Spend the money for Texeria elsewhere!

  18. FUZZY DUNLOP says:

    Yanks need to stop being pretty (Abreu) and get some toughness (Swisher)

  19. John D says:

    I like him and agree with most of those who say after Tex it’d be a fine Plan B depending on the price. my only question is, would he be more productive than Giambi for whom we’d only have to pay $$? I’m not so sure. if you do the cost/benefit of Giambi who had a higher OBP in 08, more HR and more RBI and would only cost dollars vs. Swisher who is younger and plays better D, but would presumably cost decent personnel I think that’s pretty close. not sure Cashman would make the move if it cost him Damon or Hughes or IPK or AJax. for lesser players/prospects, sure. maybe Veras/DRob/Ramirez + Melky or something. would be interesting to know what the scouts think the reason is for the .219 this year. aberration or start of a decline?

  20. parms says:

    i think swisher would fit perfectly if they didnt get tex, but i dont see a damon trade happening. the sox want a center fielder and im not too sure damon qualifies. not only that, but the sox have absolutely nowhere to play swisher, so giving up damon would be way too much. i wouldnt be surprised if cashman could pull off not really giving them anyone for swisher.

    then again as excited as am at the prospect of getting a guy like swisher (i always love those guys that bring everything to the table ala shelley duncan), its gonna be a long wait before anything would pick up

  21. Mike Pop says:

    Idk hughes and ipk are busts.. might as well give them up why they have the lil calue they have

  22. Yank Crank 20 says:

    i love everything about Swisher…makeup, intensity, skills…but would i lose damon and possibly kennedy to obtain him? that’s a tough call.

  23. Will (the other one) says:

    Problem: apparently this chick (the smokin’ hot Danielle Gamba) actually may not be Swish’s girlfriend. This is an absolute deal-breaker.

  24. mtt says:

    Another possible source of improvement for Swisher are the Yankee’s clubhouse restrictions on facial hair. He’d have to get rid of that awful goatee and maybe he’d even grow a moustache, which would help replace Giambi’s production.
    On a related note, I hear Sal Fasano has filed for free agency.

  25. [...] The guys over at River Ave. Blues go over this one and speculate that the White Sox might want someone like Johnny Damon. [...]

  26. Mike W. says:

    Forget Tex.
    Trade Damon and a piece for Swisher.
    Swisher plays 1B.
    Sign Manny to play left and hit with ARod.

    • Steve S says:

      I kind of like it depending on the Manny contract length. If its 3 years or less than it makes sense. Manny becomes a cheaper alternative over Tex and his offense allows them to stick with Gardner in center.

      • Bo says:

        Will Manny stop hitting at age 40?

        • Steve S says:

          I dont know, but I wouldnt want to bet $22M to $25M if I am Brian Cashman on him maintaining his production level beyond 40.

          I also think his ability to be an outfielder is going to be a year by year kind of analysis. Next year you can survive with him out there. By the time he is 39 an 40 the odds are he is a full time DH and $25M is really not the right amount to paying a 40+ outfielder.

          • Bo says:

            Id bet that Cashman doesn’t want his personality here ruining his team before I bet Manny stops hitting.

            Hasn’t anyone watched Cashman operate the past decade? Who really thinks he’d sign Manny especially long term?

  27. Russell NY says:

    “Swisher who is younger and plays better D, but would presumably cost decent personnel I think that’s pretty close. not sure Cashman would make the move if it cost him Damon or Hughes or IPK or AJax.”

    Did you just bring up the idea of Hughes or Austin Jackson in a Nick Swisher trade?

  28. Steve S says:

    I like this. If you can get him for something reasonable he seems like the perfect buy low candidate whether it be for first base or for the outfield. Its something Yankee fans are going to have to start comprehending. There is an element of risk in trades and sometimes you have to project instead of religiously looking at what they have done in the past and give up the new standard offering Melky and Kennedy for some premium player. Or anticipating that they tie themselves up in over $500M of contracts this one offseason to resolve problems for next year without any foresight to the years beyond.

  29. Bo says:

    Yea this would be great if Swisher didn’t hit close to .200 last yr and be passed over for a broken down Griffey and a terrible Konerko.

    Don’t we want to get better? Whats wrong with getting an in his prime 1b who happens to be the best def 1b and a top 3 off 1b?

    Swisher would be a good bench player but he’s a huge drop off offensively for an offensively challenged team and is not a starter on a playoff team.

    • Joseph P. says:

      So you’re saying we should ignore 2006 and 2007? Sorry, but the dude’s in his prime. He had a bad year. Players have them from time to time. It’s not like he’s 35 and put up a terrible season, and we’d be betting on a rebound.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Swisher would be a good bench player but he’s a huge drop off offensively for an offensively challenged team and is not a starter on a playoff team.

      wait, he was a starter for the White Sox in 2008.

      the White Sox made the playoffs.

      he was also a starter for the 2006 A’s, who were a playoff team.

      • Bo says:

        He didn’t start on the Sox pretty much the whole second half.

        Griffey started in CF. They started Konerko and his 200 avg and ZERO def at 1b.

        They started DeWayne Wise in LF once Quentin went down.

        And Brian Anderson caddied for Griffey.

        swisher was a def replacement at 1b and a pinch hitter

        • steve (different one) says:

          Swisher started 143 games.

          he started 91 of 95 games in the 1st half, 52 of 68 games in the second half.

          he played a little less in the second half, but i don’t see how you wouldn’t call someone who started 88% of the game a “starter”.

          • Bo says:

            He basically sat the whole month of Sept besides being a late inn def replacement and pinch hitter.

            He is what he is. A good bench role player capable of great power and capable of playing mult positions.

            But he’s not a star and we need prime talent stars since we got nothing in the system

  30. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    What was Melky’s LD percentage? Did he have a bad year or like Nick Swisher did he just hit balls at people?

  31. colin says:

    I proposed this back in the mark teixiera post. What i dont understand though is why it has to be Swisher OR Tex. Why not both with Swish in RF? And then if we dont get Tex you can put him at 1st

  32. dudeyoyo says:

    What do you think of Paul Konerko and his .247 BABIP? He has 2 years and $24 million remaining on his contract.

  33. Brad K says:

    Swisher aka Swish went one pick after Kazmir and one pick before Hamels? Beane really missed it on that one. I like Swisher, although I would still prefer Tex and or both. It just goes to show unpredictable the draft can be. Look at Hamels now.

  34. ko says:

    Swisher would be a real disappointment at first base as opposed to Teixeira. They’re not in the same league. With Swisher, you’re going to be looking for a real first baseman in another year or two. The Yankees really need to do whatever it takes to get Teixeira – no Plan B’s here.

  35. Mike M says:

    Well, we got Brosius when his stock was low.

  36. zdiddy says:

    give me a fucking break with this nick swisher talk. he’s a 244 career hitter. with a 354 career obp. he has hit more than 24 homers exactly once in his life. never driven in 100, scored 100 once. and he k’s a lot. so where exactly would the yankees be buying low on him? when was he ever good so as to qualify as buyinglow? how about he was more just overhyped b/c of moneyball and billy beanes sabermetrics. swisher sucks. he lost his starting job in chicago for a reason. i would rather have the giambino. swisher couldnt even carry jason’s jock, let alone big tex.

  37. Kevin says:

    This has got to be one of the most ridiculous suggestions I’ve heard in a while. Why would anyone give away Swisher for Johnny Damon. I’ve heard some of you talk about his favorable contract, so I know you aren’t completely inept. Yet, you still think that Johnny Damon is a player the Sox would want?? I really doubt that the Sox would want an aging CF(??) with no arm, declining speed, and only one year on his contract. Kenny Williams will want position prospects or pitching. And no, Melky Cabrera does not count as a position prospect anymore. The Sox have Brian Anderson if they want a defensive centerfielder who can’t hit so why would they want another one? Say what you will, but Kenny Williams does not give away his players for nothing (one year of Damon).

  38. Bill M. says:

    How about Kennedy and Damon for Swisher?

    It gets rid of Damon who only has speed, and that is failing, and he has no arm for the outfield.

    Plus, it gets rid of an extremely overated young pitcher.

    It will put together an extremely decent offer for a player on a down year, and it shores up a hole at first without having to go and get the high priced free agent all the time. (that’s why people say we “buy” our championships).

    We can go out and get a fourth outfielder on the market.

  39. [...] the Yankees shore up the defense with a solid glove at first, whether it be Mark Teixeira or Nick Swisher, and a solid glove in Center Field, whether it be Brett Gardner or Mike Cameron, this will improve [...]

  40. [...] often you get a chance to buy-low on a player with Hermida’s talent and upside, and much like Nick Swisher, I hope the tires are at least kicked on this [...]

  41. [...] now, this acquisition is a great move for the Yanks’ roster. While Mike predicted it early last week, Swisher’s role on the 2009 Yankees is still up in the air, and that is [...]

  42. [...] Secondly, what exactly makes Bill Hall so desirable? Usually when I dig deeper on a player (like Nick Swisher or David DeJesus) I can find some information that the player is undervalued and a viable buy-low [...]

  43. [...] I made note of Swisher’s career low BABIP vs. his career high line drive percentage back when I originally lobbied for his acquisition, and I even explained why it would make sense to keep Swish over Nady during a pinch hitting [...]

  44. [...] been more than two years since I implored the Yankees to look into Nick Swisher as a potential buy-low option, but of course I was talking about adding him as a first baseman since it looked unlikely that Mark [...]

  45. icebird753 says:

    How about land Tex and Swish? Just throwing that out that from the future

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