Oct
18

An unlikely tandem in right field

By

Look, guys: Mike started it. Me? I love Nick Swisher. I want him patrolling right field in Yankee Stadium next year, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees ink him to a three-year extension afterward. But no. Mike had to be all like, they should pick up his option and trade him and they should totally trade him for Shaun Marcum. Thanks, Mike. Thanks a lot. So now in the hypothetical world of RAB the Yankees are without a right fielder. Oh, and guess what? Brian Sabean just gave Carlos Beltran four years at $60 million. So where’s the hypothetical RAB right fielder now?

The Yankees do have a few guys in the system who could tag team in right field. Chris Dickerson spent plenty of time with the big league club this year, and has about a season’s worth of MLB at-bats under his belt. He has been almost perfectly league average in that span, a 103 wRC+, so he could probably hold his own in a platoon situation. Think Karim Garcia in the second half of 2003. Not an ideal solution, but you could do worse with half a platoon.

The right-handed side gets a little trickier. The Yankees clearly have little regard for Greg Golson. Unless they plan to go with Nunez as the primary backup at 2B, SS, 3B, RF, and LF — thus freeing up a few bench spots — chances are Golson, who is out of options, won’t be with the team come April. The alternative is Justin Maxwell, whom the Yankees claimed off waivers from the Nationals last spring. Like Dickerson, Maxwell has major league experience, producing a 91 wRC+ in 260 PA. He’s clearly a flawed player, but he does have some pop. Perhaps limiting his appearances to just lefties would help prod him along. He’s been quite a deal better against them in limited major league duty, and he absolutely crushed them in the minors.

Really? A Chris Dickerson/Justin Maxwell platoon in right field? As if. While they’re certainly an unlikely tandem, especially for the Yankees, they’re not the pair to whom I refer in the post title. But they are on the 40-man roster, which makes them a bit more likely than, say, two players who aren’t on the roster. Or, to be more accurate, one who is on the roster but will not be once the World Series ends, and one whom most Yankees fans would probably decry before the ink dried on his contract. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a platoon alternative to Nick Swisher:

Andruw Jones and J.D. Drew. Please, hold your rotten vegetables until the end.

Jones we all know from his time with the Yankees this season. After a slow start he really came around, punishing baseballs delivered from left hands. It’s clear that he’s no longer a full-time player, nor is he in any way an elite defender. But he can hold his own, especially in the relatively small right field of Yankee Stadium. A few people would rather see him depart, I’m sure, but given what’s on the market and what’s in the Yankees system, if they were to trade Swisher it’s hard to argue that the Yankees would be better off with anyone else, within reason, as the right-handed half of a RF platoon.

It’s Drew that will make many fans cringe. To those who have followed his career only in passing he’s an oft-injured softie who, given the opportunity, will make like Jason Giambi in the 2003 World Series. But that ignores the massive good Drew has done throughout his career. Sure, his .222/.315/.302 line from 2011 is fresh in everyone’s minds, but someone with his career resume probably has something left in the tank. He did hit .264/.370/.455 during his five years with the Red Sox, and was .275/.382/.478 against right-handed pitching. The right-field porch could help add some pop, leaving him as a decent one-year stopgap solution in a platoon role.

Convinced? Good, because I’m not, either. Yet this is an example of what the Yankees could have in right field if they opt to move Swisher. The only other alternative is to explore the trade market, but that’s never a sound primary strategy. It’s tough to determine what teams will trade a quality player at any given position, and even tougher to determine what they want in return. You can try to figure out a trade that would net the Yankees a right fielder, but may I remind you that your trade proposal sucks.

The Yankees have a fine right fielder in Nick Swisher. If you don’t believe me, check out Larry Koestler’s post on the matter. Given the alternatives in right field, the Yankees are pretty clearly best served by picking up Swisher’s option and returning him to the position he’s manned for the past three seasons. Unless, you know, you want a Jones/Drew or a Dickerson/Maxwell platoon in his stead.

Categories : Hot Stove League

100 Comments»

  1. moose says:

    once you mentioned jd drew i stopped reading

  2. Jumpin' Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge) says:

    Some Yankee fans just need a bone to gnaw on and, for some of them, that bone happens to be Nick Swisher. They’ll cite platoon splits, and some others will even go to the lengths to talk about “stat padding” and ridiculous garbage like that.

    In the end, there is very little reason to explore changing up right field in 2012. Every player has their flaws. Nick Swisher has been a fine, fine New York Yankee.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I saw him smile after he struck out once.

    • Dave B says:

      I agree with Jorge and think Joe’s post is right on point. Drew/Jones on the surface may not be too bad, but then I think “why the hell would we do that?”

    • JU says:

      As usual, in an effort to counteract hyperbole from one side, the Swisher apologists blatantly disregard his flaws. You guys make sarcastic jokes about his smile and explain away his inability to hit quality pitching as a consequence of SSS, but that doesn’t erase the fact that this guy is not a winning player. He has the lowest baseball IQ of anyone on the team (the league?), and he is a non-factor in the postseason – not because he’s “unclutch”, but because he’s not a good hitter (can’t beat up on backend starters and fringe middle relievers in the playoffs Nick). If they can get Marcum for him, pull the trigger. They would be fine with Nunez as their everyday RFer.

  3. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    TSCTIJMW (That’s so crazy that it just might work).

    Bah…Doesn’t work as well as TINSTAASP

  4. Mike B says:

    why go with JD Drew when Johnny Damon could serve the same purpose and is well, not JD Drew

  5. Naive says:

    Uh.. is the Carlos Beltran bit real, or was that a joke?

  6. Mike Irish says:

    What about a trade for Maurice Jones-Drew?

  7. Angelo says:

    I think the Yankees should keep Swisher and then sign Elijah Dukes after the 2012 season!!

    He’ll be the next Josh Hamilton!!!!!!

    WOOHOOO!!!

  8. Paul VuvuZuvella (formerly Nuke LaDoosh) says:

    Your RF Proposal Sucks.

  9. Sarah says:

    Pujols to RF!

  10. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    Like I have been saying all along, Swish helped us get to the playoffs. That he did not perform well in them is another story. Really, do you think we could live with a platoon of two has beens like Jones and Drew? I don’t think so.

    • Dennis says:

      The Yanks don’t need help getting in the playoffs. Its how your perform in the playoffs that counts the most. Swisher cant hit good pitching, thus is useless to a team like the Yankees. On a borderline team that’s fighting for a playoff spot is where his value would be greatest.

      • Angelo says:

        What proof do you have that Swisher can’t hit “good pitching”?

        • Dennis says:

          Its called watching the playoffs.

          • Jerome S says:

            Dumb shits…
            come on, this is a guy who for three years has been a more than solid hitter against all pitching.

            You know who hits good pitching? No one. That’s why it’s called good pitching.

          • Tom O says:

            Yeah, because playoff pitching has been so good this year. Wait, what?

            • MannyGeee says:

              FWIW, this entire team save for Jorge & Gardner made Fister and Scherzer look like Cy Young and Cy Younger…. Swish cannot carry the entire load here for shitty hitter of the 2011 ALDS

          • I Voted for Kodos says:

            That’s the only time he faces good pitching?

            I watch the games. I’ve seen Swisher hit good pitching plenty of times.

            Refute my statement. Using facts.

        • Eduardo (My Left Nunez) says:

          Mike Francesca said Swisher can’t hit good pithing, so therefore it’s true.

      • I Voted for Kodos says:

        This is the exact same bullshit I read about every single hitter in baseball who has a low avg/high OBP style. There’s nothing whatsoever to support it, but it doesn’t stop people from repeating it whenever anyone says anything good about the Swisher/Dunn types.

        Here are Swish’s splits against every pitcher he’s faced since 2004, and you’ll notice that he has hammered some good pitching, and struggled against some good pitching. Kinda like every single other hitter in baseball.

        http://bit.ly/oCL3Mh

        Some highlights:

        .238/.333/.548/.881 against King Felix
        .278/.386/.556/.942 against Lester
        .242/.350/.485/835 against Cliff Lee
        .286/.412/.601/1.019 against CJ Wilson
        .400/.531/.440/.971 against Buehrle
        .455/.586/.682/1.268 against Price

        These are all tiny samples, as are his samples against every single pitcher on the list, but it’s pretty clear if you glance through the whole thing that Swisher doesn’t struggle abnormally against good pitchers. He hits some of them very well, just as he struggles against some really shitty pitchers.

        Also…you know who, as a whole, struggles to hit good pitching? Every fucking player in baseball. That’s what makes good pitchers good. If the vast majority of players didn’t struggle against them, they wouldn’t be good pitchers.

      • thenamestsam says:

        The whole “the Yankees don’t need help getting to the playoffs” thing is one of the silliest claims people make, and it’s definitely not just Dennis, lots of people say it. The reason they make the playoffs is because they had players who performed well in the regular season (like Swisher for example) and to now retroactively declare that they didn’t need him because they did make it is ridiculous. It’s not like the Yankees cruised to a playoff spot all year. If you stick someone replacement level in right they could easily have been in a dog fight until the last day.

  11. Greg Golson says:

    All the Yankees need is to add someone named Maurice as a back up outfielder and they will have Maurice Jones-Drew

  12. Holy Ghost says:

    I don’t understand why there are so many Nick Swisher fanboys on this site. He’s good but his offensive contribution is not irreplacable. The Yanks have needs in other areas(pitching) and ‘should’ kick the tires to see what they can get for Swisher. I won’t be upset if he stays or goes…

    • Ted Nelson says:

      No one is saying he’s irreplaceable, but he has been the 5th best offensive RF in MLB over his three seasons with the Yankees. Certainly they should consider trading him in the right offer. The reason you don’t understand why people like Nick Swisher, though, is most likely that you are ignorant as to his actual offensive and overall contribution.

  13. Now Batting says:

    A perennial playoff contender shouldn’t be fielding and paying $10.25 mil to a .169/.295/.323 hitter in 147 playoff plate appearances. Try to trade him.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge) says:

      147 plate appearances = 1/4 of a season. Anyone can do that.

    • Tino Martinez in his first 150 playoff PA: .209/.293/.306. Tino from PA 151 through the end of his first Yankee tenure: .280/.364/.434 . Please crawl back into the hole you came out of.

      • Cito Wordekemper says:

        Tino > Swisher.

        I guess you enjoy his SO’s with MOB, or his weak ass groundouts to second.

        Stop with the know it all shit-you’re a moderator , not the shout-down master.

        • JAG says:

          I like how the entirety of your evidence and argument for why Tino is better than Swisher is a greater-than symbol.

          Joe’s stats demonstrate the point that everyone here is trying to make: you can’t conclude anything from such a small sample size, and the playoffs are no different from any small sample.

          You know who else strikes out a fair amount with men on base? Jeter. Let’s just trade that bum, he’s terrible.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Well done

  14. Favrest says:

    Drew is old now. I’m not a fan of his me first attitude, but he should be looked at. I’m not sure if Michael Cuddyer is a free agent, but I like his game. This team needs to get younger. Throwing another old dog out there is a mistake. I’d explore a Burnett for Werth trade. I think Werth had one bad year, and that he’s a gamer. He’d do well here.

  15. BigDavey88 says:

    I can’t wait for the playoff trolls to go back in hiding. Some of the shit I read om here…

    Woof.

  16. Jumpin' Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge) says:

    More irritating: people with an irrational hatred for…

    A) Nick Swisher
    B) Mark Teixeira
    C) Phil Hughes
    D) All of the above

  17. dalelama says:

    Hating post season suckitude isn’t irrational.

    • Jumpin' Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge) says:

      I always base my opinions of baseball players on how they perfomed over a five-game span. Completely rational.

      When it’s an All-Star or Gold Glove winner who is not perfect at every aspect of their game, it makes even more sense to judge them on a five-game span. Absolutely.

  18. Grover says:

    So no position player changes and Montero takes over for Posada with a lefthanded bench player who spells him against tough righthanders?

    The market for Swisher should be strong enough for the acquiring team to also absorb Soriano. I could live with Dickerson and Maxwell if it meant Wilson and Darvish join the staff and bump Hughes to the sixth and seventh innings while Noesi waits for the call to replace Burnett when he melts down. It doesn’t mean they will be playing when the playofss start but simply hold down the eighth or ninth spot in the order until an aging vet is brought in for the playoff push.

  19. godfather says:

    love this: 147 plate appearances = 1/4 of a season. Anyone can do that.so true, but so overlooked; during the season, it’s a slump; in the playoffs, a disaster; “true fans”, i guess, have to have it when it counts…to them; i’ll take what happens through 162 in 180whatever

  20. Bill says:

    Swisher is clearly our best option for RF this year. That said if a good trade came along (something along the lines of Swisher for Marcum) and we needed a RF I’d go after Dejesus for the Lefty part of a RF platoon.

    JD Drew is not someone I’d want to rely on for more than half the ABs at one position. He’s someone I might look to bring in as a bench player similar to the role Chavez had this year, but anything beyond that is too much.

    Andruw though should be brought back regardless of who else is in the OF. His presence makes this team absolutely deadly against left handed pitching.

    Offensively our woes are most against right handed pitching where guys like Swisher, Tex, Jeter, and other regulars are not nearly as effective against. Tex and Swisher in particular really need to fix their left handed swings.

  21. Cuso says:

    I find it laughable that you think that our options are ONLY Swisher or that decrepit platoon. And even more laughable that you use that possible platoon as your sole justification for keeping Swisher.

    What precisely makes you think that rickety old free agents are the only option?

    Was Granderson a free agent when we acquired him? I think not.

    This is why Cashman is getting resigned. To pull off things that are not within the scope of your short-sighting thinking.

    And, no, I don’t have to “propose” anything to reinforce my point. It’s just too damn easy to show the glaring flaw in yours.

    Don’t be surprised if another 3-way deal happens at the Winter Meetings wherein Swisher, Hughes, Romine, and one of Warren/Phelps are siphoned off to net a #3 starter and a starting RF.

    Jones/Drew, lol. Please. The only time i want to hear that again is at a Jaguars game.

  22. nycsportzfan says:

    Trade Swisher and Sign David Dejesus Trade Swisher and a prospect or 2 to Atlanta for Jair Jurrjiens and sign Dejesus for the stop gap(chance to be more) lets not forget when we got Swisher he was coming off a 224 season and turned it around in our potent lineup I think Dejesus scrappy style will fit well

    • Kosmo says:

      I like your idea but Atlanta already has a young RF and 1B. Atlanta needs another big bat but Swisher isn´t the right fit. I like Jurrjiens but his health is a question mark.
      Dejesus would be a decent stopgap.
      I´m banking on NY signing Darvish and rolling with what they already have in the pitching department unless of course an unforeseen trade nets them a number 2 SP.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Swisher was 28 when the Yankees got him and had two consecutive .360 wOBA seasons before the .325 one in Chicago. He didn’t suddenly get good in NY, he simply returned to form after a bad year.

      DeJesus is 33 and has had one .360 wOBA season, a couple of .350 seasons, and several worse seasons mixed in between.

      Jair Jurrjens has been a 1.2 and 1.5 fWAR pitcher the past two seasons. You’re trading a lot of fairly certain production in Swisher for a lot of uncertainty.

  23. Ted Nelson says:

    I find some logical holes in your argument.

    While it’s pretty useless for fans to propose trades for a RF, the Yankees are not fans. They can explore the trade market to line up a RF replacement before pulling the trigger on any Swisher-for-a-pitcher deal. Heck, they can trade Swisher himself for a RF replacement.

    Unless you know who they are trading Swisher for and who they are replacing him with it’s really hard to say they are better off with him.

    I am not particularly looking for the Yankees to move Swisher and doubt the right situation will arise this off-season, but simply because your knowledge of who is available for what is limited doesn’t mean the Yankees can’t find a scenario that makes sense.

    • UncleArgyle says:

      How about a Swisher and Hughes for Jason Heyward and Derek Lowe? Now I doubt Atlanta would ever trade Heyward, but in the abstract I could see the benefits to both teams in this framework.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I think they’d trade Heyward, but not for a 32 year old RF and a pitcher whose future is in serious doubt after an awful season.

    • If you’re looking for logical holes in an argument made in jest — and I think the 1st and 2nd to last paragraphs pretty clearly state my level of seriousness — you’re going to find them without much trouble.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I disagree that it came across clearly, or really at all. I would recommend trying to read your article objectively, because I read it word for word and it seems like any other article here.

  24. camilo says:

    Kemp in a year and change!

  25. mike says:

    You have to get rid of swisher, he is a disaster in the playoffs. It is not a small sample size when he has 16 hits in 104 at bats as yankee that is just pathetic. Overall he is hitting 160 in his career in the playoffs. Its time to get someone else in here, in todays baseball market 10 million a year for this guy is a joke, just because he smiles to the crowd and salutes the bleacher creatures doesnt mean the yankee should resign him. Additionally, his defense and in particular his arm is one the worst right fielding arms in baseball.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Yes, it is a small sample size.

      “in todays baseball market 10 million a year for this guy is a joke”

      Yeah, it’s a really good deal. 7th highest fWAR among RFs since he’s been here, and so cheap.
      http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....;players=0

      “Additionally, his defense and in particular his arm is one the worst right fielding arms in baseball.”

      His defense is actually rated as above average by defensive metrics…

      • mike says:

        it is not a sample size it would amount to be about 1/4 of a season if a guy was hitting about a 100 through 2 months of the season you would be calling for his head.

        These new fancy baseball stats are dumb, what is WAR anyway, whatever happened to batting average, runs batted in and runs scored being the determinative figure on a player.

  26. JT says:

    Trade Swisher. Avg player who hides it all with his Bleacher Creature love and I’m just a goofy guy act. Tried of him being mediocre.

  27. JG says:

    Not to get all Bill Walton on you but Nick Swisher is the statistically the worst hitter with RISP in the history of the game. He’s had three post-seasons to prove himself and failed in all three. Get rid of him.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Hmm? Serious or joke?

      His OPS with RISP in 2011 was .845, higher than his overall OPS. In 2010 it was .839.

      He did decently in the 2009 WS and very well in the 2010 ALDS.

      • mike says:

        he did decently in the world series are you serious. First off he was benched in one game in favor of jerry hairston I believe it was game 2. Second he batted 2 for 19. Second in 2011 he batted 246 with RISP that is not exactly great production from your right fielder.

  28. Tanned Tom says:

    There are several good reasons to trade any player:
    1) To acquire a more valuable player. In this case trading Swisher to pick up a starting pitcher, given the team’s needs, makes sense.
    2) To save salary. A platoon of Jones/Drew is not exciting but might save $3-5 mil a year.
    3) To be rid of the particular player. I don’t feel that applies here. Swisher is a good player, who does come up small in the playoffs.
    The Yanks will almost certainly exercise their option, so that point is moot. What happens after that depends on Sabathia coming back or not, and the team’s confidence in it’s rotation for next season. It’s worth remembering that Swisher is one of very few players on the team who are tradeable. Guys like Rodriguez have no-trade clauses, Burnett is a player no one wants, Cano is a player we’d be nuts to trade, well…that doesn’t leave too many guys. Even Gardner would be impossible to get sufficient value for because of his salary. What should happen is that the Yanks retain him, but then shop him. See what he’d bring packaged with a few lesser prospects. If a number 2 starter, under 30, can be had for Swisher and 2 mid-ceiling prospects that’s a deal you might have to make. The deal that really has to be made is any which takes Burnett away. Burnett for Lowe? for Zambrano?

  29. Hey Andrei,Well made template. I’ll use it for some of my presentations!

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.