• Analyzing The Nick Swisher Deal

    Posted by on November 13th, 2008 · Comments (18)

    First, props to Ken Davidoff for calling this one eight days ago.

    Next, let us look at what the Yankees gave up here: Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez.

    Basically, the Yankees didn’t give up anything that they could not afford to lose. Actually, if a UFO landed on earth today and sucked up Betemit, Marquez and Nunez with the intent to turn them into finger puppets for extra-terrestrials, it would mean nothing to the Yankees organization. In fact, it might take weeks to even notice that they were gone.

    So, the Yankees are getting Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Texeira for just-about-free here. But, who are they?

    Kanekoa Texeira is a 22-year old relief pitcher who has barely dented Double-A. He keeps the ball in the park; but, he walks too many for a guy coming out of the pen. He may end up being somebody, someday – however, that somebody just may be the next Ryan Kurosaki.

    So, that leaves Nick Swisher. Here, my immediate thought is: O.K., so, Billy Beane and Kenny Williams are not the genius G.M.s that many claim they are…but, they didn’t exactly fall of a turnip truck yesterday either. Beane traded Swisher for Ryan Sweeney, Gio Gonzalez and Fautino de los Santos, and, now, 11 months later, Williams is trading Swisher for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez. So, what the heck is wrong with Nick Swisher?

    Well, first, forget about the concept of Nick Swisher being a center-fielder. He’s about as much a center-fielder as Hideki Matsui is…which means he can play there in an emergency situation and that’s about it. At the end of the day, Swisher is a corner-outfielder who can also play first base.

    And, that’s fine for the Yankees – since they don’t have a first baseman at the moment…or, at least, they didn’t before this trade. But, what about Swisher’s bat?

    Via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, here are his career stats:

    2004	0	.352	.417	.769	.488	5.1	20
    2005	-2	.322	.446	.768	.487	4.9	131
    2006	23	.372	.493	.864	.610	6.4	157
    2007	25	.381	.455	.836	.631	6.2	150
    2008	-11	.332	.410	.743	.434	4.5	153

    Hmmm…so, will the real Nick Swisher please stand up? Is it the Nick Swisher from 2005 and 2008? Or, is it the Nick Swisher from 2006 and 2007?

    Let’s look at some more Swisher stats. This time, via The Hardball Times:

    2004	.272	4.2	14%	.271	38%
    2005	.262	4.1	19%	.265	38%
    2006	.293	4.1	19%	.283	33%
    2007	.294	4.3	18%	.301	37%
    2008	.242	4.5	21%	.249	35%

    This is interesting. Swisher, the last four seasons, has seen the same number of pitches per plate appearance and, roughly, has produced the same percentage of liners and ground-outs as well. However, the key difference in his “down” seasons (meaning 2005 and 2008) was his batting average on balls in play. This suggests that his liners and grounders didn’t find holes, during 2005 and 2008, like they did in 2006 and 2007.

    So, maybe Billy Beane and Kenny Williams don’t have some skinny on Swisher? Maybe it’s just lady luck who has been jerking Nick around?

    We’ll get to see, for ourselves, now, in Yankeeland, won’t we? And, considering that the Yankees gave up just about nothing in this deal, I don’t see the downside of giving Swisher a shot at being the Yankees first baseman in 2009.

    The remainder of Swisher’s contract is as follows: He’s paid $5.3 million in 2009, $6.75 million in 2010 and $9 million in 2011. And, the Yankees now hold a $10.25 million option for 2012 with a $1 million buyout. Therefore, if Nick is a bust, the Yankees can cut him after this season and be on the hook for just $16.75 million. Hey, compared to what they paid to talk to Kei Igawa, that’s chump change.

    In the end, while this is not a great deal – as you don’t know for sure what Swisher brings – it’s a very interesting deal…and one that could be fun to watch unfold over the 2009 season.

    Comments on Analyzing The Nick Swisher Deal

    1. RollingWave
      November 14th, 2008 | 5:58 am

      If you know for sure what someone’s going to bring (postiively anyway) then there’s no way anyone sane is going to trade that guy (for example, I know Albert Pujols will rock, but can I trade for him?)

    2. November 14th, 2008 | 7:41 am

      Didn’t the Yanks trade for A-Rod?

    3. Joel
      November 14th, 2008 | 8:02 am

      A very good trade. The Yanks didn’t give up much. They’re going to love Swisher in the Bronx.

    4. November 14th, 2008 | 8:17 am

      Picking up a potentially productive part for nothing has to be good. Its fun trying to grade Cash’s trade record. If he picks up a bad piece-Betemit and dumps him for a potentially good piece, does he get credit? Catch -22

    5. Justin
      November 14th, 2008 | 8:52 am

      //If he picks up a bad piece-Betemit and dumps him for a potentially good piece, does he get credit?//

      Except Betemit wasn’t really a bad piece. He was a perfectly acceptable utility infielder. I mean, have we all forgotten the blight that was the Enrique Wilson era?

      Further, Cashman got Betemit by trading Scott Proctor, whose arm promptly fell off.

      And, of course, Cashman got Proctor by trading a washed up Robin Ventura, who Cashman got by trading a washed up David Justice.

      Really, this is just the latest result in a continuing series of really solid transactions.

    6. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      November 14th, 2008 | 9:17 am

      If in the end the Yankees 1B is Swisher and the Red Sox 1B is Teixeira, because the Yankees didn’t feel it necessary to go hard for the latter, will Yankee fans be happy with this trade?

      It seems to me you’re getting Giambi from the last couple of years (power, high OBP, poor BA) with the added value of him not being a butcher in the field.

    7. MJ
      November 14th, 2008 | 9:21 am

      I’d give him a pass for 2005 considering it was his rookie season.

      I don’t see the downside here. The Yanks gave up next to nothing to buy low on a player that has produced in the past who can also play multiple positions.

    8. MJ
      November 14th, 2008 | 9:28 am

      If in the end the Yankees 1B is Swisher and the Red Sox 1B is Teixeira, because the Yankees didn’t feel it necessary to go hard for the latter, will Yankee fans be happy with this trade?
      Why is that relevant? The only thing that would matter is how the 2009 season shakes out.

      As I mentioned in a previous thread, Swisher’s arrival in NY doesn’t preclude the Yankees from getting Teixeira, nor does it mean that Boston has the inside track on Teixeira. The Red Sox would still have to figure out what to do with Mike Lowell at that point. Obviously there are teams that would consider taking a flyer on Lowell but the Red Sox would have to pay his contract, given his age and recent injury history. Would Boston want to pay Lowell to play elsewhere and toss another $140M at Teixeira?

    9. November 14th, 2008 | 9:39 am

      ~~If in the end the Yankees 1B is Swisher and the Red Sox 1B is Teixeira, because the Yankees didn’t feel it necessary to go hard for the latter, will Yankee fans be happy with this trade?~~

      As a Sox fan, you really think Theo wants to sign Tex and block Lars Anderson?

      Me? I’m thinking Tex stays with the Angels now.

    10. Raf
      November 14th, 2008 | 11:25 am

      Me? I’m thinking Tex stays with the Angels now.
      I think so too, but you never know with these things.

    11. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      November 14th, 2008 | 11:47 am

      Lars won’t play 1B when he gets to the majors. He’s Papi’s replacement at DH.

      MJ, I’d say Teix in Boston and Swisher in NY would impact how 2009 plays out, so a decision not to go after Teix is important. And the Phils ought to be happy to get Lowell for fewer years and less money than they originally offered. Their third basemen had the worst offensive production in the league – even a not yet 100% Lowell figures to improve that dramatically, and he’s still an excellent defender. Dealing with Lowell is an easy thing to do if you’ve landed the big middle of the order bat you need for the next several years.

    12. MJ
      November 14th, 2008 | 1:18 pm

      Lowell figures to improve that dramatically, and he’s still an excellent defender
      Lowell’s coming off an injury so bad that they shut him down for the playoffs. I don’t think Philly is going to go nuts to get Lowell when they can get a 1-year stopgap like Joe Crede for less money (and no trade chips).

    13. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      November 14th, 2008 | 1:40 pm

      Stay up to date, MJ. The surgery found less damage than expected. He’s expected to be ready at the start of spring training.

      And Crede? He didn’t even play 100 games, missed a month in July-August and was shut down for good early in September. Don’t tell me you think Crede is a better option!

      And I didn’t say Theo will demand great prospects in return. He’ll only want modest prospects if they have to pay some of his salary, minor prospects if the Phillies take it all.

    14. Raf
      November 14th, 2008 | 2:55 pm

      So, are we in agreement that this trade makes sense at the time it was made? 😀

    15. butchie22
      November 14th, 2008 | 3:37 pm

      Once I Was, Philly just won a World Series with Feliz at third , why would they want to add Lowell right now when Feliz is signed through next year and Lowell seems like Carl Pavano senior! Boston would have to pay Lowell’s entire salary and get crumbs for him right now. It’s wishful thinking that the World Champion Phils would want him…..but Ricciardi over in BlueBirdLand? He loves injured third basemen types like Rolen and Glaus so you never know, even though Rolen is signed for 2 years and is untradeable like Lowell. JP is stupid enough to do a trade like that, no doubt…….

      MJ, the Phillies already have Feliz so what stopgap? Crede makes Lowell look like Lou Gehrig!The Phils have a ring so why would they add Lowell who is now yesterday’s news. Why would they add 13 mill of salary when they have a third baseman and need a replacement for Burrell. Leave it to Red Pox and Tankee fans to think that they can hoodwink other teams. The guy who does that the best is Beane, look at that Holliday trade. That was a good trade, not Lowell for crumbs and paying his full or even half salary!

    16. Raf
      November 14th, 2008 | 4:19 pm

      The Phils would add Lowell because he’s an improvement over what they already have.

      The 1998 Yanks won 114 games and the World Series, then they went out and added Roger Clemens, who was coming off a season where he won the triple crown and the CY Young Award…

    17. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      November 14th, 2008 | 7:12 pm

      Butchie, you are really showing your ignorance now. Lowell = Pavano? As Raf posted elsewhere, he played 150 games in five of the last seven years. Crede missed enormous chunks of the last two seasons and no one knows if his back will ever be right. Beyond the fact that he couldn’t carry Lowell’s jock when he was healthy. Feliz is a joke with the stick, why wouldn’t the Phils want the guy they were willing to pay more money for more years, so long as he shows he is healthy in March/April?

    18. November 15th, 2008 | 1:25 pm

      […] I’m not really known to break news so who cares.  As many of you probably already know, the Yankees acquired Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox along with minor league reliever Kanekoa Texiera for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny […]

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