Andre Ethier’s contract and the Yankees


(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

While you were sleeping last night, news broke that the Dodgers and Andre Ethier had agreed to a five-year. $85M contract extension with a vesting option for a sixth year that could push the total value north of $100M. It’s the third largest contract in franchise history behind the Matt Kemp and Kevin Brown deals and one of the 15 richest contracts ever for an outfielder. Ethier was scheduled to hit free agency this offseason but instead decided to stay in Los Angeles for a rather healthy sum.

Baseball Time in Arlington has already looked at the impact this deal will have on Josh Hamilton and the Rangers — presumably one fewer suitor now — but it also trickles down to the Yankees. Nick Swisher is scheduled to become a free agent this winter and like Ethier, he’s a very good but not elite corner outfielder in his early-30s. They’ve produced similar offensive (127 vs. 124 wRC+ in favor of Ethier) and defensive (-12 vs. -14 DRS* in favor of Swisher) numbers since the start of 2009, though Swisher has played in at least 150 games in each of the last six seasons while Ethier has done so just twice in his career and not since 2009.

* Defensive metrics are quite ambiguous, so if you look at UZR it’s Swisher in a landslide: +5.4 vs. -24.6.

Obviously Ethier is having the far better season in 2012 — 131 wRC+ and 2.2 fWAR vs. 105 and 0.4 for Swisher — and that’s part of the reason why the Dodgers were so desperate to re-sign him. He’s a fan favorite and while he’s not truly homegrown, he’s never played for another big league team. He’s gotten MVP votes and been to multiple All-Star Games, plus he has a “clutch” reputation. All of that helped Ethier land this massive contract and is stuff Swisher doesn’t have going for him, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, their actual production on the baseball field, Swisher is a comparable player if not better than baseball’s newest $85M.

That said, I can’t see any way Swisher will land a contract that big this offseason without a Bonds-ian finish to the season. At the same time, my hopes of seeing the Yankees bring him back for Michael Cuddyer’s contract — three years and $31M — inflated upwards by 25% or so now seem pointless. Maybe I was being naive in the first place, I’m great at underestimating future free agent contracts. There seems to be little chance of Swisher signing a modest little three-year pact no matter how much he loves New York, which leaves the Yankees in a bind because they don’t have an ready-made outfield replacement and are trying to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold within the next 18 months or so.

Perhaps Brett Gardner‘s elbow injury and latest setback is a blessing in disguise. Maybe it will force the Yankees to look to the trade market for a replacement outfielder, someone that could play left in Gardner’s stead this year before taking over right field next year. I don’t know who that guy would be, but it’s a possibility. Much like Yadier Molina and the catching market, Ethier’s contract really skewed the outfield market for this coming offseason. Swisher, Hamilton, Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, and Shane Victorino now all have a pricy benchmark to reference in contract talks, and that doesn’t help the Yankees one bit.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Nick says:

    This just makes me sad. I like Swish but don’t think NY can justify more than 3/40 or maybe 4/50.

    Maybe he gives us a hometown discount? He obviously loves playing in YS2. The one thing that might work in our favour is the fact, as Mike says, that there are a few outfields becoming free agents ths year. There can’t be that many teams willing to give Ethier type contracts out surely?

  2. Will says:

    Let Swish walk. Trade for a guy like Reddick, sign Melky, or even see what Zolio Almonte can do.

    • RetroRob says:

      Under no circumstance do I want to see Melky returning to the Yankees off a career year. Let some other team pay him $90 million.

  3. DERP says:

    Pence for this year and next?

  4. RI$P FTW says:

    Screw him. Let the kids play.

  5. MannyGeee says:

    Any chance they can steal someone like Hunter Pence? not old, not horrible, not expensive, 2 years of control left…

    Get him while the Phils cant get out of their own way.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Not an improbable maneuver especially if the Phillies are staring at the NL East from the basement looking upwards at the trading deadline. Phillies are going to have to trim money somewhere and start going with a youth movement; something their GM is starting to warm up to.

      You do however have to accept the likelihood that the Yanks won’t be the only team going after Pence. The Phillies are going to want quality prospects.

      I wouldn’t part with Banuelos, Campos, Mason Williams, or Sanchez … Everyone else in the farm is fair game.

      • DERP says:

        If you won’t part with any of those guys, then we probably aren’t getting anyone good.

        • CS Yankee says:

          He left a lot of meat on the table…

          Austin (both), Zo, Dbich, Monty, Gumbs, Murphy to name a few.

          • Gonzo says:

            How many of those guys nets you Pence though? Gotta imagine that another team could beat those prospects easily.

            • MannyGeee says:

              all the names! its like shopping for outfielders at Big Lots!

            • CS Yankee says:

              Pence no, but the Phils are unlikely to move him as they can rebound and have him under control for a few more.

              Someone good in the OF could be had for kids outside the four he listed…or so I believe. You just might have to eat some dollars.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                The original point was Pence… not just any OF. Certainly you can get some OFs for less than an elite prospect.

                • CS Yankee says:

                  DERP stated “…not getting anyone good”, therfore my reply was that you could/might as a reply to his comment.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            The Phillies have up two top 50 BA prospects for this guy a year ago. Austin is the only one of those guys I imagine they wouldn’t die laughing over. Maybe Gumbs if they happen to love him, but there’s a lot of risk there.

            “Zo” (assuming that’s Zoilo) doesn’t have a .300 wOBA in AA, and Murphy doesn’t have one in A-ball. Bichette is at .321 in Low-A. Guys struggling mightily in the minors aren’t usually great trade chips.
            As much as I like K-Mark, he’s a reliever in A-ball. An attractive piece I would say, but only worth so much.

            Maybe you can give them a ton of quantity, but I doubt the Phillies would take that over just keeping Pence or trading him for one or two studs elsewhere.

            • Reggie C. says:

              Ah, fine.

              I hit ENTER knowing the consensus reaction would be “gotta budge on of ‘em”. Ok. fine.

              Of those four, Banuleos and Sanchez are untouchable. Campos and Mason Williams are attainable in separate packages, never both packaged in the same deal given that the return is essentially two years of a very good Corner outfielder.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I’m not saying the Yankees should trade these guys for Pence (would consider it, but don’t know if I’d do it). I’m just saying that the Phillies probably won’t trade Pence for less.

                Doubt Campos’ trade value is elite right now with the elbow. Rarely see injured guys traded for good value. Same with Banuelos until he gets back.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  I mean, what the Phillies gave up to get him was basically a Mason/Sanchez + better than a healthy Campos. Not to say that’s what they’re looking for and he’s a year closer to FA… just to give you an idea of his market value.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        I think you have to give up at least one of those guys. Philly gave up two top 50 BA prospects for him last season. He’s a year closer to FA, but Philly also isn’t hopeless like Houston.

        Wouldn’t be surprised if Philly prefers high-minors and cost controlled MLB guys to waiting several years for Low A guys, either. I’m sure that they’re still trying to turn it around this season and compete next season. I think they’re only about 5.5 out of the Wild Card race right now, and they’re under-performing their pythagorean W-L by 2 games. If Howard and Halladay return to health… that could be a big boost.

        • MannyGeee says:

          agreed, they will want AAA and cost controlled guys for anything they do. They will still be carrying aging aces on their roster and $25M of Ryan Howards carcas for the better 1/2 of the decade.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Pence is a very good fit, IMO. But he’ll cost real talent, something many around here are loathe to do.

  6. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    I agree that Ethier’s contract has thrown Swisher’s deal into an issue especially with 189 budget. I know Swisher gives it his all on the field and loves playing Rf for the Yankees. But, IMHO he would be overpaid and signed to more years than I believe is good for the team. Trade route or minor league system Almonte roll the dice on this part of the lineup. Swisher may reach 30 and 100 this year with about .250 BA. 10 million is not a bad payday even if its so called under valued.

    On another note his catch was great to watch last night. In fact I believe his defense has more of an impact than his offense.

    Pitching will cost money all the time, use it here not in RF. Look at the Rays, pitching has them tied for first with timely hitting at best.

    • RI$P FTW says:

      No. We need an all-star team.

    • Brian S. says:

      Swisher is not a plus defender.

    • dalelama says:

      Looks like the Arod boondoggle is going to cost us Swish. I like Swish also despite his swallowing the bit in the post season.

      • MannyGeee says:

        just A Rods? how about the Jeter money? or Teix? or CC?

        everyone who will be on this roster on 2014 that is here today is to lame for the lack of Swisher/Cano/Granderson at this time.

        • Brian S. says:

          Jeter is hitting over .300 and Teixeira is second on the team in RBI’s. You are not allowed to criticize them!

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Are you new here? It’s always A-Rod’s fault.

        • Billion$Bullpen says:

          How is Jeter’s deal hurting this team? He is not signed forever. Tex and Alex and CC have contracts that will be horrible at the end. I would have let CC walk before I payed him this $, I would have gambled on Darvish (I said this in the offseason)

          I like CC, but he is too old with too many innings on that arm, and out of shape for me to invest that many dollars and years at this stage in his career. There were not any proven alts so I get why we brought him back, I just would have done something different.

  7. Ted Nelson says:

    It’s possible, but I don’t know if Ethier’s deal is market value. I think that the Dodgers overpaid him drastically. Maybe they’re just throwing around money, maybe they love the power, maybe Magic is as competent at owning a team as MJ (i.e. overvaluing PR and soft skills over production)… but I don’t know that any other team would give Ethier that much this off-season.

    Guys at the top of the market (especially Hamilton, maybe Bourn) already had Werth, Crawford, Bay, Holliday, Kemp, etc. to refer to, not to mention big deals at other positions.

    I don’t know if it will be Swisher, but I still think that you’ll see some Cuddyer’s and Willingham’s and Kubel’s slip through the cracks. Corner OFs who don’t wow you. If Swisher doesn’t turn around his season, he’s definitely a candidate for that. All the other guys you mention can play CF (debatable for Hamilton… but with a .450 wOBA he’s fine in RF).

  8. austinmac says:

    What kids do you suggest they play? The 30 year old minor leaguer, Dickerson? Guys at the age of the Yankee AAA outfielders are still in the minors for a reason.

  9. yoo-boo says:

    I don’t think Swisher will compete with those “young” or “hot” players. He is a type of a player who is okay with “enough” money in a contract.

    Big problems are length and $$ willingly paid by Yanks through 2014.

  10. E-ROC says:

    I am holding out hope for a Chase Headley trade, but that is not likely.

    • BK2ATL says:

      Might not be a bad idea. What do you think it would cost us? Worth exploring in our cost-effective model.

  11. Gonzo says:

    This is a tough situation. With so many more teams believing they can make the playoffs, I don’t know if the market will cool off this offseason. It might, but I’m not in that camp of belief.

    They can always do something out of the box like have a Matt Murton/Grady Sizemore platoon situation. Probably not that exactly just something out of the box.

  12. CS Yankee says:

    I would bet that a 3/40 would ink him still today.

    I view him as a 10-12M$/Yr guy, great in the clubhouse, does the extra stuff that ties him in well with the fan base, and has an incredible wife (which alone is worth 2-3 more in total value).

    Not the end of the world if he leaves but comparable to keeping Russ’, IMO.

    1) Cano, don’t cha know…unless if its 150M$+.
    2) CGrand…although he should be our LFer.
    3) Mo…try for a 1+1 (option).
    4) Pettitte…a 1+1 would work.
    5a) Russ’
    5b) Swish

    • The Guns of Navarone says:

      I view him as a 10-12M$/Yr guy, great in the clubhouse, does the extra stuff that ties him in well with the fan base, and has an incredible wife (which alone is worth 2-3 more in total value).

      He’s got a good face. He looks like a ballplayer. The ball really jumps off his bat. His girlfriend is a 9 at least… which means he has confidence.


    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      Agree with your first 2 priorities. I don’t see Mo as a priority because he will sign and will probably go year-to-year. No negotiations (and we don’t have to worry about it because the new budget doesn’t go into affect until 2014), just a quick re-sign at whatever the cost, probably at the $12 – $15M range. Not sure on Pettitte yet. Both sides will need to evaluate after the season. I think he may want to return, as he probably intended to have one last season with Mo, but that situation should work itself out as well. No major issues, so not a priority in my opinion. I’d put Swish and Martin ahead of those 2 (or RF and C), not sure in what order.

    • Billion$Bullpen says:

      I think there is NO way Swish does at 3 years for 40MM. I also think Andre E. got more than market value, I also think that LA will be in on Hamilton if only to drive the price up so there is less money out there to sign the remaining players they want.

      Dodgers, Texas, Cubs, Boston, and maybe even teams like Baltimore and the Blue Jays are going to have some money to throw around this offseason. Swish will get his cake. Hamilton will get good money. Cole H. will get a historic contract.

      • BK2ATL says:

        Why would LA be in on Hamilton??? They locked up both Kemp and Ethier for big money. They will lock up Kerwshaw and probably go all in on Hamels.

        • Billion$Bullpen says:

          Because you do not pay what they paid for that team and not plan to spend big boy money. They want their town back. Albert is in town, Kobe is still in town, last I check the Clips have a star now. Dodgers owners did not spend that type of coin not to go all in.

          I am not saying they sign him, but they will check in, and I would not be shocked if they signed him.

  13. Granderslam says:

    Dom Brown!

  14. Smart Guy says:

    Whats wrong with Chris Dickerson as a stop gap for a year or 2 until a better fit shows up or one of the kids shows they are ready

    • CS Yankee says:

      I think you meant a month or two?

      Gotta believe Grit will be back at some point, CGrand will be extended and we’ll need a Swish (or better) as the everyday.

      Note: most teams carry 5 OFers, he cleared waivers twice. He is NOT a top four OFer for the Yankees today, but I understand if they give him a go for now.

      • Smart Guy says:

        no i mean next year, i rather give dickerson a stop gap shot thatn overpay for someone that will eventually block a future move for someone who could be either cheaper, better , younger, you name it.

        Dickerson 2013!!!

        vote today

    • MannyGeee says:

      the fact that he really is a AAAA journeyman is whats wrong with a full season of Chris Dickerson.

    • Brian S. says:

      Maybe as part of a platoon. We should steal Cody Ross from the Red Sox for next season. Dickerson-Ross platoon.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I could see him as part of the solution either on the bench or as one of several competitors for the spot, but in the off-season I think you can find some better options cheap. The Yankees don’t always find those guys in part because they don’t always have many big holes to fill, and those guys can get more playing time elsewhere. They have found Jones and Ibanez just the past two seasons, though.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Try yet another handle.

  15. MattG says:

    Would it be ironic to blame the Dodgers for pricing Swisher out of NY?

    • Brian S. says:

      So they can sign him to replace Loney at first base. Those bastards! But seriously, I don’t want Swisher back. Offer sheet him to get a draft pick and let him walk.

      • Smart Guy says:

        Who is a better option for RF than swisher? All the swisher haters have yet to answer this

        Swisher does have his flaws , I get it, but we are never having a complete team with super starts that dont have flaws, never gonna happen

        we replace Swisher with say josh hamilton we will have people complain about the next hole say catcher or LF or middle reliever, Fans will never be happy

        I say if we can keep swisher for a reasonable contract, DO EEEEET

        • Brian S. says:

          It won’t be tough to replace a 105 wRC+ and mediocre defense. Torri Hunter on a one year deal could do that. Ichiro on a one year deal would hit less but defend better. Zolio Almonto could probably even do that with better defense.

          • Smart Guy says:

            but will they bring a personality and good clubhouse WAR %?

          • Mike Axisa says:

            Except you’re not replacing a 105 wRC+ unless you think he’s going to keep this up all season.

          • thenamestsam says:

            Zolio has a 78 wRC+ in AA. But yeah, he’s probably good for a 105 in the majors.

            • Brian S. says:

              You got me there. But you ignored my other points. Also Melky Mesa has a 125 in AA so you can replace Zolio Almonte with him in my original post.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Because when it comes to statistical projections it’s reasonable to use 1/3 of a season (less really for Swisher) rather than several seasons of data…

            Hunter and Ichiro are reasonable suggestions… but Zoilo is a LF who probably would not be better in RF than Swisher, and has a 78 wRC+ in 126 PAs in AA this season after posting a 87 wRC+ in 191 PAs there last season. I’m optimistic he can post a 105 wRC+ in AA, maybe even AAA next season… MLB? Not so much.

            • Brian S. says:

              How about a Cody Ross/Chris Dickerson platoon?

              • Ted Nelson says:

                There are definitely options out there, but I think that the first thing to do is see what Swisher’s market value is. Guy is a very good RF whether you think he is or not.

          • BK2ATL says:

            Torii Hunter’s probably headed to Colorado after the year. And neither he nor Ichiro will come cheap. Why would they?

            • Ted Nelson says:

              Because they’re both old as dirt? (And Ichiro can’t hit anymore…) They don’t have to be cheap in 2013, the idea is for them to be gone or cheap in 2014. Maybe Hunter gets a two year deal if he keeps up this hot hitting (pretty big if, I’d say), but Ichiro might be lucky to get more than a MiLB deal.

              • BK2ATL says:

                And we said Andruw Jones was old and done when we signed him. And Ibanez….Wait, what?

                Ichiro’s probably just tired of carrying that clubs’ offense, with no support around him for years, then switching between batting leadoff and 3rd or wherever they have him now. He’s still useful as a starter and on defense.

                Both Ichiro and Hunter will get multi-year RF deals next year. We’re not talking about the Johnny Damon/Vlad Guerrero/Hideki Matsui types, where they can’t be trusted on defense.

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  And they signed Jones and Ibanez for almost no money.

                  Ichiro’s wOBA has been under .300 last year and this year. Alex Rios is the only qualifying RF who is worse offensively over that span. Guy will be 40 next year. We are talking about Johnny Damon/Vlad/etc. in terms of overall value.

  16. In Mason We Trust says:

    What about Dominic Brown from the Phillies?

    • Smart Guy says:

      What about michael Taylor from the A’s?

      • In Mason We Trust says:

        No. Do your homework again. Hideous numbers.

        • Smart Guy says:

          Fernando Martinez?

          • Mike Axisa says:

            Never ever healthy. If you want someone to play full time, you need to acquire players that have a history of staying healthy. No gambling on Grady Sizemore types, that’s just a waste of time and money.

            • Ted Nelson says:

              You really love to state your own preferences as rules, huh? You’re right to point out the risk, but wrong to say never to do it. Have to consider the context as well as just the guy’s injury history. You don’t want to count on that guy without solid back-up plans… but sometimes the risk is worth it. Beltran, for example. Can’t blame teams for passing him up, but also can’t blame the Cardinals for signing him.

              As far as Martinez… more of a flyer if you can get him. And most flyers end up being a waste of time and money. Doesn’t mean you don’t bring some in.

              • Havok9120 says:

                Did you really just call someone else out for “stating his own preferences as rules?”

                • Ted Nelson says:

                  It would appear that way, no?

                  What preferences have I stated as rules? I tend to spend most of my time arguing against other people stating things as rules… not stating rules.

                  • Robinson Tilapia says:

                    Let’s chill our balls here, people.

                    Although, if anyone here has the right to make up and change rules and facts, Hunger Games-style, here, it would be Axisa, wouldn’t it?

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I feel sort of the opposite way. Like that’s a bit of a minor abuse of power since he has everyone’s ear.

                      It’s not all the time by any means, and I think Mike does a great job running a great site.

                      Not that my opinion matters for anything, but every once in a while I just feel like he uses a sort of appeal to authority to throw out his stance as the only way. A lot of other times, though, he points out where his biases lie. Obviously this is his soapbox and he’s going to be throwing out his opinion all the time… I’m just referring to differentiating between opinion and fact. And probably making a bigger deal out of it that it is.

                      “No gambling on Grady Sizemore types, that’s just a waste of time and money.”

                      This in particular was a theme two off-seasons ago. Garcia can never stay healthy. Colon can never stay healthy. The rotation is doomed! You have to factor the injury history into a players’ value… but it’s one part of a larger picture.

                      I have no great hopes for Grady Sizemore, since he’s the one mentioned… but on a 1 year, $5 million deal (+ incentives) there’s a lot of upside for the team. Depends on your other options, obviously.

          • In Mason We Trust says:

            Dude is batting is .067. I’m going to say no.

            • Smart Guy says:

              why dont people get my sarcasm about hyped OF prospects!

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                We all have busted sarcasm meters around here. Too many things that you really think should be sarcastic actually aren’t.

                I’m good for at least one false takedown a day.

              • BK2ATL says:

                It was actually funny, if they knew what those types had been up to lately.

                We had our own hyped OF prospect, Jose Tabata. Maybe we can get him back too???

              • JohnnyC says:

                You’re too smart to ask that question.

  17. Robinson Tilapia says:

    My master plan is coming into place. Washington Heights, here I come again.

    Melky Cabrera

    • MannyGeee says:


      You complete me.

      - Robbie

    • BK2ATL says:

      LOL. Might not be a bad idea, considering how he’s played in the past year and change since he got focused under A-Rod’s guidance.

      I doubt if SF will let him get away though, as their offense really sucks without him. They pulled a heist on the Royals.

    • Gonzo says:

      Serious question, how much do you think he’s signing for this offseason? He’s not coming cheap.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I think someone is going to wake up in about August 2013 and realize they paid Melky Cabrera something like 4/32 to 4/40.

        I don’t think he’ll come crashing down to earth, but I have a hard time seeing him keep this up, and this is coming squarely from a pro-Melky household.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          I think he’s getting a lot more than 4/40. Someone’s going to look at him and think they can get 80% of Hamilton’s production for 50% of the money.

        • Gonzo says:

          Yeah, I can totally see someone signing him to a 4/40 contract maybe even more if he continues to go bonkers. He’s definitely not signing a Yankee friendly 2/15 deal unless something goes seriously wrong with him.

        • BK2ATL says:

          Why would you doubt that maybe he’s just figured it out??? 200+ hits last year, 50+ hits alone in May 2012….. I think we’ve past the fluke stage. Maybe, like Cano, he’s just matured.

          Whatever plate discipline and training A-Rod instilled in him after his disasterous 2010, has apparently stuck. I’ll go on the record and boldly say that since the start of 2011, Melky’s outplayed every Yankees’ OF not named Granderson.

          Maybe 4 yrs/$40 million or more in the SF market.


          • Mike Axisa says:

            The 50 hits in May thing is the stupidest most irrelevant stat ever. I can’t believe how much play that got. Who holds the Yankees’ record for most hits in May? No one knows because no one cares. Melky’s not the first player to ever pick up 50 hits in a 31 day span and he won’t be the last. In fact, I’m willing to bet someone else does it this season if no one else has already.

            • BK2ATL says:

              Except…it happened. Revelent!

              Not opinion. Just the facts.

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                What? No one said it wasn’t a fact. They said it was irrelevant to evaluating his future talent/salary.

                • BK2ATL says:

                  The 50 hits thing was just in the context of explaining that maybe Melky’s success has gone past fluke status and is now a real thing. The stats and advanced stats since the start of 2011 surely would back that up.

                  Should a hot streak in the midst of that success just be ignored in evaluating his future talent/salary? Because he’s on target for another 200+ hit season FWIW.

                  He won’t get Ethier money, but just might be worth more than Swisher, age & future talent considered.

                  • Jim Is Bored says:

                    Right, I agree that he’ll get Swisher money, but you can and should use things besides hit totals in one month to show us why.

                    The advanced stats DO back up that he’s been good, but you didn’t give us any.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    Yes, a hot month by itself should be ignored. Absolutely.

                    The stats from 2011 and those from 2012 are nothing alike.

            • JohnnyC says:

              Hey, we report…you decide!

          • Ted Nelson says:

            Because his BABIP is over .400.

            I think he has figured it out (or re-discovered it), but I still don’t think he’s a .400 wOBA hitter. Probably more in-line with last season’s .350 in a good year or the two .330 seasons he put up for the Yankees.

    • Brian S. says:

      Watch the Giants counter this deal with a 6-106 deal for Melky.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        *pictures poor, confused Melky walking through the Mission district looking for mofongo*

        • BK2ATL says:


          You know he’s already called up Robbie more than a couple of times from KC and SF to ship some out there.

  18. BK2ATL says:

    Now that the Soler ship has sailed, I’m coming around to the thinking that we’ll need to try to re-sign Swisher for 3-4 years, maybe at $13-15 million AAV.

    Besides the obvious things previously stated, one thing that separates Swisher from his potential replacements is that he’s a capable switch-hitter from both sides of the plate. Undervalued, but very usual in the Girardi approach to things.

    Of course, if they are operating with the 2014 $189 million in sight, that means that there just won’t be enough money for Cano, Granderson and Martin left, if they re-signed Swisher.

    With no real replacement in the system for Cano (2B) nor Swisher (RF), it appears that the most likely to be considered expendable for salary cap reasons will be Martin (Romine/Stewart/Cervelli/Sanchez) and Granderson (Gardner). The offense, however, would take a significant hit with Granderson’s departure, as neither Tex nor A-Rod can be counted on for consistent power, just in spurts.

    I’m not sure how they play this one out. Maybe trades are the way, but I don’t see them getting much back for Banuelos, Betances, Romine or even Nunez at this stage. Each have substantial question marks and have only lowered their value so far this year.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Even if the team had given Soler a ten-year contract with an opt out every ten minutes and keys to the executive washroom, Swisher may still be your best bet for the next three seasons.

      Swisher’s not necessarily the dealbreaker in keeping Granderson or Cano. Lots of balls in the air, and it’s something Yankee fans are going to have get used to dealing with.

    • Billion$Bullpen says:

      Swisher can be replaced, Grandy can not. Cano can not be replaced by his contract will be more than he is worth and he wont be at 2nd forever.

      If Martin wants all the money in the world I am ok with somebody else. I am ok letting Cano walk. I am not happy to lose Swisher but I dont pay him over $45 or 50MM for 3 years and that most likely will not get it done.

      If this budget thing is real, our team will suffer for a few years because of the horrible contracts (Alex and Tex)

      • BK2ATL says:

        Explain exactly how Swisher can be replaced. Internally, there are no long-term options, esp. with the Yankees’ belief that RF is a power position. They are not gonna stick Dickerson or Mustelier out there for anything more than a couple of weeks or so. Branyan? Cust? Vlad? Yeah right. Who are you trading for? Who are you willing to give up? I have no idea either.

        You’re thinking offense only with Granderson. The Yankees CAN replace Grandy with Gardner in CF. Unfortunately, I can see them doing that. And I’m a huge Grandy-as-a-Yank fan. Offense will take a massive power hit, but they should be able to make up for some of it on defense and speed on the bases. Grandy has earned his next contract, no matter where it will be.

        Cano is not replaceable. He is the current 2B and future 3B.

        Martin is replaceable, although the defense and staff stewardship will take a hit.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          ….but not the stewarT-ship.

        • Billion$Bullpen says:

          “Explain exactly how Swisher can be replaced”

          Let us start out with the fact that Swisher is not Babe Ruth. He is a very serviceable RF, very streaky hitter, and brings a lot of general value to the team. Swisher is not an all world talent. We can replace Swish by trade, or by signing a free agent. We could bring in a platoon of cheaper players. I am not suggesting we SHOULD do this, but it can be done.

          I find it funny that everybody wants to replace Grandy by sliding over Gardy. Last time I checked the guy has health issues RIGHT NOW, is no spring chicken, and hits for zero power. If we move Gardy over to CF who plays left? Gardy is replaceable as we have seen so far this year.

          As for Cano you want to be paying him plus Alex a total of what $50MM a year? I already said Cano is not able to be replaced. Hopefully we get a guy with a slick glove and that can slap the ball and run well and have a decent OBP to man 2nd for not a ton of money after Cano leaves. Having a guy like Grandy in CF that hits for power softens that blow. I would bet on Grandy being a value somewhere in the OF moving forward over Cano being a value at 2nd / 3rd.

    • KL says:

      Um, Banuelos still has a lot of trade value. People jump off a bandwagon way too quickly around here. He is 21 and was pitching in AAA before he got hurt. A few good starts at AAA and everyone will be in love with him again. And teams still like Romine. Prospects get injured.

    • Dan says:

      The Yankees could replace Granderson’s power in 2014 with Mustellier. Since he has been playing more LF, there is a chance he will be able to handle it better defensively by then. I agree that without any real replacement they need to re-sign Swisher and let either Cano or Granderson walk. I think they could get by with Joseph at second if Cano wants 150m+.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        We are slightly getting ahead of ourselves here. How about we call the guy up first before we declare him starter in 2014?

      • Havok9120 says:

        The first sentence of your post is one of the more ridiculous things I’ve heard this year. The second is pretty bad as well.

        • Dan says:

          How so? I haven’t seen him play the outfield so you definitely could be correct, but the minor league fielding stats I have looked at make it seem like he wouldn’t be completely horrible. Also, if Gardner is in center he can help cover more of the left-center gap. You also didn’t offer any viable alternative… If they are going to get under 189 by 2014 then they are going to have to make some subtractions. Cano will probably get re-signed, but if he doesn’t maybe they keep both Swisher and Granderson. However, with the Ethier deal and their desire to get under the luxury tax it seems more likely that Cano and Swisher will get better offers elsewhere this offseason.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            I don’t think it’s the defense. Granderson is an elite MLB power hitter. Mustelier is an elite AAA power hitter. It’s possible he will hit in MLB, and it’s possible he won’t. I’m a big Mustelier supporter, but chances are still at least even he’s a AAAA player.

            • Dan says:

              I agree, and I would rather they keep Granderson over Swisher. It just seems that based on what the market will be this offseason they might need to re-sign Swisher at an above market rate or end up with someone that might be on the same level as Andruw Jones playing every day as an outfielder. My point was more that there definitely won’t be a major league ready OF option in the minors after this season, but there might be one after next season.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                If Mustelier isn’t ready for 2013, not sure what his chances of being ready for 2014 are. He’ll be 28 in like 2 months.

                People are just saying to be patient rather than deciding what will happen several months from now at this moment. The Yankees will consider their options and make what they feel is the best decision. There’s nothing wrong with platooning a Jones-type and a LH in RF for a year or two.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Could always move Granderson to RF. Arm is not ideal there, but I think he’s lost a step in CF anyway.

      Not sure either Stewart or Cervelli is a real option to replace Martin, Romine is at least as much a question mark as Banuelos, and Sanchez is probably a ways off still being 19 in Low-A.

      They’ve got quite a few options at 2B. None is a stud, but they’re probably closer than the options at any other position and 2B is a position where talent is scarce. By the time Cano’s contract ends we should have a much better idea of whether they can handle a starting role at 2B, at least as a stop-gap. CoJo, Adams, Nunez, and Mustelier all have the potential to do so by 2014, if need be. Then further down the line there are Gumbs, Custodio, Culver, Tamarez, and maybe Refsnyder moves fast out of NCAA.

  19. Cuso says:

    Ugh. Swisher is not a Yankee in 2013. Come to grips with it.

  20. Brian S. says:

    How good does Beltran look at 2-26 right now? Sigh.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Who cares, he’ll be on the DL soon enough anyway.

    • vin says:

      Same as Berkman last year… great in hindsight.

      • Brian S. says:

        Funny you ask that. I also wanted to bring back Berkman after his strong 2010 postseason. I have proof on another blog.

        • vin says:

          I would’ve loved to have brought back Berkman, and signed Beltran… they just weren’t great fits given the current roster construction and payroll. Just because a guy is a good deal, doesn’t guarantee he’s a good fit, obviously.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Hindsight is the best GM in baseball. If we ever get his first name, we should definitely look into him as Cashman’s replacement.

    • Billion$Bullpen says:

      As good as it looked in the offseason. That was a steal then and still is.

    • MannyGeee says:

      ask me again when his knee falls off in August

      • Brian S. says:

        And if he hits the 15 day DL at some point in the next two seasons I expect confirmation bias to erupt around here. But that doesn’t change the fact that he has been one of the best players in baseball this season after being one of the best last season.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          He’s been one of the best players through 2 months this season and he’s 35.

          You can’t have it both ways, praising your foresight re: berkman with your blog post and then demeaning people for using confirmation bias if Beltran ends up on the DL.

    • BK2ATL says:

      Looks as good as signing Grady Sizemore. Those knees done sailed.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Besides Sizemore not having played yet this season and Beltran being one of the best in MLB… sure.

        I don’t care that they didn’t sign Beltran, but I also don’t think he was at all comparable to Sizemore this off-season. He just had a monster, healthy season… something Sizemore hasn’t done since 2008.

        I think that the 2-26 the Cardinals gave him was a good gamble overall, but enough risk that it wasn’t and still isn’t an obvious steal.

    • pat says:

      L-O-L again with this shit.

  21. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Ryan Spillbourghs is the Yankee outfielder of the future.


  22. Gonzo says:

    Ok, I got it. Our starting RF next year is Torii Hunter.

  23. Rich in NJ says:

    It seems like Cespedes and Soler were cheap in relative terns. Oh well.

    They cannot afford Swisher or Martin if they want to keep Cano and Granderson while reducing the payroll to $189m.

    • Smart Guy says:

      i for one would love them to trade cano for a big haul of prospects

      Less Stars, cheaper ticket prices!

      Occupy Yankee Stadium!

      • Gonzo says:

        According to Deadspin tickets are damn cheap this year despite all the stars they have now. Ticket prices are at the whim of market forces not player payrolls.

    • KL says:

      Soler could be Jackson Melian. He was not cheap, even in relative terms, given he never played one day of major league baseball and got a 9 year deal for 30mil.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Relative to what?

      They can keep 3 of the 4 under $189 million. Need to keep the bench and pen dirt cheap and the rotation quite cheap to do so, though.

  24. 28 in 2012 says:

    The question is, who is going to offer Swisher more money than the Yankees? How much leverage does he really have?

    • Smart Guy says:

      Well seeing as how the yankees are spending lately i guess the giants, braves, bluejays, rangers, cubs, Mets, Astros and redsox!!

      • 28 in 2012 says:

        Right, I forgot the Red Sox dont have any outfielders under contracts and the Astros and Giants always overpay for theirs…

        • Smart Guy says:

          you are asking who could offer more money than the yanks?

          The A’s offered more for cespedes
          Cubs for Soler
          Rangers for Darvish

          The Yankees though ( the new yankees)

          did offer more than any other team for Raul Ibanez, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia

          • Ted Nelson says:

            And the Red Sox offered more for Carl Crawford, the Mets for Jason Bay, etc.

          • 28 in 2012 says:

            I am talking about Swisher 2013. You listed younger guys with upside Swisher wishes he had. Astros had a Carlos Lee blunder, Blue Jays already signed Wells to a big contract and we know how that ended.I doubt the Sox pay big for another outfielder soon. I just dont see suitors for Swisher out there in 2013 who will offer him an Ethier size contract. Swish may take a discount from the Yankees and stick around, which I am fine with. But to say the Astros and the Giants are going to throw 70-85 million at Swisher is far fetched.

            • Smart Guy says:

              the point is that to think the yankees would spend 70 – 85 on swisher is far fetched also, in the Boss era i would think theres no shot any team outbids or offers swisher more money, Im not so sure this time around therefore any team can offer swisher more money than us

              • Ted Nelson says:

                Spending $70-80 million on Swisher at 32+ is not necessarily a good thing. Even without any spending restrictions (which have been imposed by the league, not ownership), the Yankees might let Swisher walk. Like they’ve let Matsui, Abreu, Damon, etc. walk before. Or traded Sheff. Swisher isn’t quite as over the hill, but during a long-term deal he should become as over the hill.

            • Dicka24 says:

              There’s your OF for next year. Jason Bay. Mets would love to dump him, and he’d have a year left on his deal. Mets would pick up some coin too probably. Then u can go Bay in LF, Gardy in CF, and Granderson in RF. or just put Bay in Rf since Yankee Stadium is smaller there.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Anything is possible in a world where Jayson Werth got what he got.

  25. Beepernps says:

    Id trade Cano for a good young outfielder and use other minor leaguers as trade bait for a SS or 2b. If we can get a good SS, move jeter to 2nd. Cano is going to go downhill fast. He sucks at RISP, let him be the dodgers problem.

  26. Ross says:

    This post had everything. Information, projections, and a poll (I voted for Mustelier)! Good job, Mike.
    Quick question: Is Fonzi worth a look if the Cubs eat a lot of money? His speed numbers have declined but, he’d be a slight upgrade over Ibanez in the outfield and still is able to absolutely rake from time to time.

  27. Kosmo says:

    Resign Melky move Gardner to CF and Granderson to RF or trade for Alex Gordon. Alex Gordon ? He´s under a longterm contract at roughly 10 million per , the Royals have Myers along any day now and with their OF getting crowded and their desperate need for SP it could be a match.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Pretty sure Alex Gordon has returned to sucking. You might want to re-check “he’s under a longterm contract” language.

      • Kosmo says:

        Gordon has what remains of his 2012 contract plus 3 more years. 3 years @ 10 mil per is worth a gamble. The season is far from being over. Yanks traded for Swisher who if you remember no one thought too highly of at the time.

        • Reggie C. says:

          Heh. Rotoworld never updated Gordon’s contract status. My bad.

          Judging Gordon’s season stats to date, its getting easier to say last year was an outlier. Its not “early” in the season anymore.

          • Kosmo says:

            Still over 3 1/2 months left to play. I think last year was what Gordon is capable of. MAybe a change of scenery would do him some good ??

  28. A.D. says:

    D’Back could be an OF trading partner, with Upton/Pollack/Young/Parra/Kubel they have some depth to spare

  29. Reggie C. says:

    Would like to see how the year plays out for CARLOS QUENTIN in SD.

    If Quentin continues to show the power translates into any ballpark, and is able to at show he’s good for a .250 BA, he’d be the best of a non-Swisher lot of free agents.

    • Kosmo says:

      I like Quentin too provided he can stay healthy. He is as much as Gordon a risk.

      • Reggie C. says:

        Quentin looks like he’s a couple seasons from going the Carlos Lee route. I dont dwell on “body type” but Quentin is someone who must watch his weight.

        Quentin has missed a too many games these past couple seasons to be entirely comfortable with the prospect that he replaces Swisher. However, that said, Quentin is a good follow-up candidate, especially if he plays out the rest of the season in SD and remains healthy and productive.

        His contract probably comes in under (AAV-wise) than what Gordon got.

  30. BaltimoreYankee says:

    Can we have a moratorium on the dumb name abbreviations? I can understand shortened names as nicknames like Teix and Swish but in just this thread alone we have: Zo, Dbich, Monty, K-Mark, CGrand and CoJo.

    I guess it’s just one more thing we can blame on ARod.

  31. dkidd says:

    let swisher walk
    move granderson to right
    move gardner to center
    convince theo to pay 80% of soriano’s remaining salary for nunez


  32. MMMyyKuroda says:

    I think Sin-Soo Choo is a FA this off season, isn’t he?

    Any chance he might do a reasonable deal (like 3/40) if Swisher wants a Crawford/Werth deal?

    Otherwise, a Garder/Bourn/Granderson OF would be awesome…especially for our pitchers.

  33. Ross says:

    Surprising lack of comments on Alfonso Soriano …

  34. RetroRob says:

    The most sad part is having to listen to the Swish complainers complain even more once he’s gone.

  35. craig says:

    Perhaps this lessens the amount of $ the Dodgers have to go after Hamels?

    • Dan says:

      Yeah, especially if they also plan to throw a lot of money at Cano. A rotation of CC, Hamels, Pettitte, Nova, and Hughes looks pretty good for next year, with Banuelos ready in AAA in case of injury.

    • BK2ATL says:

      If the Phillies don’t extend Hamels, then the Dodgers are going all in on Hamels. Let’s not fool ourselves. Plus, he’s from out there. Fits them to a tee, in tandem with Kershaw.

      I’m more than sure they accounted for rolling out the Brink’s truck for Hamels before they extended Ethier. Just like they have already accounted for extending Kemp and Kershaw.

      This ownership group didn’t buy the Dodgers to be cheap. They still have a ways to go before getting near $189 million.

  36. BK2ATL says:

    Any thoughts on Jeff Francoeur??? He might be available and signed for our 2 year stopgap at 2 years, $13 million total.

    I know what he was down here in Atlanta at the end, but apparently he’s become pretty useful offensively again in KC. He plays a pretty good RF too.

    Just a question.

  37. LiterallyFigurative says:

    Let Swisher walk, sign Melky. Different types of hitters, but Melky is 4 years younger and a better defender.

    Sign Mike Napoli to be the main catcher.

    Nunez/Mustelier/Romine(depending on whether Jeter/ARod/Napoli DHes)

  38. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    I know this would be taking a big chance, and know he is having a lousy season but this kid had a fantastic rookie season and is not being used much by his team. He is young still and may be available and he plays all three outfield positions. He could turn into another Paul O`Neill or not. He is not earning that much. I am talking about Chris Coghlan of the Marlins. Maybe a change of scenery will bring him back to what he was in his rookie year. He may not be too expensive to get.

  39. Tom says:

    Couple of options I haven’t seen:

    1. Josh Willingham?

    He’s under contract thru 2014 (so that impact the 2014 plans a bit), the Twins are going nowhere and the contract is reasonable (I think it’s 11mil per). His glove is probably not good enough for LF in Yankee stadium but RF should be OK. Not sure how much the Twins would want back (if they deal him this year he could probably fake it in left until Gardner gets back). The Twins do like relievers and pitch to contact starters…

    2. One of the A’s OF’rs?

    I assume they will hang on to Cespedes, Reddick and maybe Crisp – they have a bunch of OF’rs in the minors/4th OF’rs – not great options but they would be cheap from a money perspective (prospect-wise Beane will likely ask for more than they are worth though)

  40. Tony Zerucha says:

    Swisher is a great team guy, a character guy like the Yankes used to have in spades. I wouldn’t overpay for him as I wonder how productive he’ll be at the end of a 4 year contract. They’ll be eating the contract to get rid of him. I wouldn’t trust Ethier in a big pressure market. I don’t think he could handle it.

  41. Dave says:

    First off, a lot of these trade ideas are ludicrous. They completely favor the Yankees against very good teams or teams with underpaid players, teams who would rightfully demand a king’s ransom in prospects, even if they entertained the idea of a trade- Do we really want to let more Austin Jacksons and Jesus Monteros leave? I certainly don’t.

    I think it’s fascinating that nobody seems to agree on Swisher’s value. As a Yankee he’s played in 93% of games his first three seasons, he’s only been on the DL once, I believe, which was this year and only for a few games and when he returned he was fine and he’s still leading the team in RBI’S- and has picked up the slack more than a few times when guys like A-Rod and Tex were slumping. His defense has been steadily improving- Yet nobody can seem to agree about how much he is worth. Most say he isn’t worth more than $10MM a season when comparable players have made FAR more than that.

    At the end of the year the numbers are always there for him and as for the post-season- Everybody remember A-Rod choking a few times in October?

    I’m no longer going to speculate on Swisher’s value either in terms of money or years on a contract, but I do think he should remain a Yankee for at least 2-3 more seasons. I don’t see why he shouldn’t- if he will is another story.

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