Join Jon Heyman to the growing list of national baseball columnists proclaiming Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady expendable. In a recent post, Heyman notes that the two outfielders could be available for the right price, but more notable is his note on Johnny Damon.
The Yankees are fielding trade offers for corner outfielders Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher. There’s been some speculation they might consider trading Hideki Matsui, too, but he has a full no-trade clause and is coming off knee surgery, so there’s really no way to trade him…
Johnny Damon isn’t in the trade mix, as the Yankees need him to be their leadoff hitter and part of a center field rotation. The other in-house candidates for center field are Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner.
So here’s what doesn’t make sense. Hideki Matsui just isn’t a viable outfield candidate. Even if his knees could take the daily wear-and-tear, his range is a huge negative. So if the Yankees are planning on going with Damon in center field, that would leave whichever of Nady and Swisher aren’t traded to man right field and…no one…to man left field.
Now, the idea of Damon in center makes most Yankee fans queasy. He’s a very good left fielder, but his range in center is a big diminished. I’m not even going to mention his limp noodle arm. Meanwhile, most of us are quite content with giving Brett Gardner a shot in center field, but there’s a real chance that he just doesn’t have the bat to succeed at the Major League level. It’s tough to say how committed the Yankees are to that idea though.
Considering that the Yankee outfield is a huge question mark for 2010, the team has no real need, as we’ve been saying over and over again, to trade Nady or Swisher. If they get a great offer, of course they should consider it. But for now, both players have roles on the 2009 Yankees, and my money is on the team breaking camp in April with both Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher in tow.