• Yanks Looking To Move An OF?

    Posted by on December 28th, 2008 · Comments (31)

    This was posted on an LA NBC site last Friday -

    Can you picture Nick Swisher or Hideki Matsui in an Angels uniform?

    Apparently the Angels are at least giving it some thought. Reports are that the Yankees are looking to make a trade as they have a glut of corner outfielders. On the trading block are Xavier Nady, Swisher Matsui. At least one, maybe two of those players will get moved.

    As of December, the Angels likely would start Juan Rivera or Gary Mathews Jr. in left, Torri Hunter in center and Vlad Guerrero in right. Behind them as insurance would be Chone Figgins and the loser in the battle to start in left field. That’s a solid lineup, maybe better depending on how Guerrero bounces back.

    Not that there isn’t some reason to at least talk with the Yankees. Swisher (just acquired this off-season by New York from the White Sox) is a left-handed bat and the Angels could use one of those, and Matsui is a switch hitter.

    Matsui doesn’t make a lot of sense in one regard, he is due $13 million next year and likely would DH when not playing in the outfield. Angel fans could rightly question that big an expenditure on a Matsui quality player (.294 last season with nine home runs). Swisher, is a far more reasonable $5.3 million (and is just 28 years old) but he hit just .219 last year, with 24 home runs.

    We know the Angels are not going after the biggest bats on the market now, Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn. But adding Swisher to the mix for some mid-level picks is at least worth a conversation or two.

    …Swisher (just acquired this off-season by New York from the White Sox) is a left-handed bat and the Angels could use one of those, and Matsui is a switch hitter…

    Huh?

    In any event, backwards reporting aside, there seems to be some buzz out there that the Yankees are looking to trade Matsui, Nady or Swisher.

    It makes sense, in a way. I have a feeling that Girardi really wants to play Brett Gardner in center this year. And, I’m down with that. But, if that happens, this means that Johnny Damon plays left. With such a move, that leaves Swisher, Matsui and Nady fighting it out for DH and RF. That’s one too many players.

    Of the three, I’m hoping that Swisher goes. He’s a terrible outfielder and has some holes in his swing.

    Granted, Matsui is a defensive liability at this point – and a question mark in terms of his health. But, if he’s sound, the upside is huge for him. He can handle being a DH, can handle the glare of New York, and is a solid citizen in the clubhouse.

    Nady, as I’ve written, is probably closer to an .800 OPS batter than being a superstar. And, he’s just OK in the outfield. But, he seems like the kind of player who could be a good fit on the Yankees…batting in the lower third of the line-up, around 7th, and picking up some clutch hits.

    I could see why some teams would want Nady over Swisher – especially when it comes to contract status.

    It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle this situation – if it’s true that they are shopping an outfielder.

    Comments on Yanks Looking To Move An OF?

    1. antone
      December 28th, 2008 | 9:58 am

      I figured they would trade someone as soon as they got Teixeira, but I’m a little confused by the possibility they might trade TWO of these guys. Makes me wonder if they are going after Manny to DH if they plan on trading two guys, because that would leave them with 3 players for 4 spots.

    2. Raf
      December 28th, 2008 | 9:59 am

      Had they been talking about the payroll, I’m sure they would’ve gotten it right :D

      Matsui has a NTC, I doubt that he’s going anywhere. I think this may be his last year as a Yankee.

      As for Nady, his contract situation’s more desirable and he’s coming off a good year; the Yanks would be selling high. Swisher’s the opposite; longer term contract, and he’s coming off a bad year.

      If I were a betting man, I would bet on Nady being moved.

    3. Raf
      December 28th, 2008 | 10:07 am

      Also, I doubt the Angels would want Matsui running around in the OF on those knees, and they really shoud move Vlad to the DH spot.

    4. jmeisner
      December 28th, 2008 | 10:15 am

      Swisher really needs to be moved. He was acquired to be the first baseman, and now that he isn’t, he has no purpose on this team. Right field is Nady, center field is Gardner, left field and DH is Matsui/Damon (with Matsui mostly at DH), simple as that. When one of the veterans gets hurt, plug the gap with Melky and live with his lack of offense. Swisher bitched and moaned about having to adjust to a new role (hitting leadoff) last year, so god knows what his petulant reaction to not being an everyday player might be. Trade him for a bullpen arm or something, make it happen Ca$hman.

    5. December 28th, 2008 | 11:02 am

      Why trade Swisher when he’s affordable and under the team’s control for the next 3-4 years? I don’t think that works, not when the team needs to rebuild their entire OF in 2010.

    6. YankCrank
      December 28th, 2008 | 11:20 am

      I’m going to defend Swisher here because jmeisner just shit all over his defense and personality with nothing to back it up.

      We all understand why keeping Swisher for a contractual reason works because he is cheap, young, and cost controlled. We also know how flexible he is with the roster because he can play 1b and all three outfield positions (some better than others.) But according to his defense, we all know 2008 was a miserable year for him in all facets of his game except for his walks and home runs.

      In 2007, before Swisher’s down year, he put together a uzr rating in right field of 8.7. In 2005, his uzr was a 7.6. Everyone looks at his overall uzr each year and it is considerably lower than those figures because he has spent time at 1b and CF where, as we all know, he is a below-average fielder. Nady’s uzr in RF, for his career, has been in the negative for 3 years and was at a .4 last year.

      Swisher, defensively, is a much better corner outfielder than people give him credit for. Is he an amazing corner outfielder? No, but he is better defensively than Xavier Nady and if you put into consideration who to deal, Swisher’s contract, age and affordability are all more appealing than Xavier Nady.

      As for his attitude, it’s customary to shit all over a player after you deal him. The Red Sox have continually done it, and i’m sure it’s not too hard to stay on good terms with a manager like Ozzie Guillen. I’m sure Swisher would be fine, so i’m all for trading high on Nady than low on Swisher.

    7. AndrewYF
      December 28th, 2008 | 11:33 am

      Swisher is not a terrible outfielder. In fact, he is a very good corner outfielder. And Nady also has holes in his swing, less patience, and the same kind of power. And, if you deal Swisher, you really need to buy another outfielder in the offseason, which likely means Holliday, or overspending on mediocrity like Nady or Bay.

      Dealing Swisher will “cost” the Yankees another $200 million dollars. I thought that was a sign of incompetence?

    8. jmeisner
      December 28th, 2008 | 12:19 pm

      Why trade Swisher when he’s affordable and under the team’s control for the next 3-4 years? I don’t think that works, not when the team needs to rebuild their entire OF in 2010.

      ——–

      Since when is $5.3 million (Swisher’s 2009 salary) affordable for a fourth or fifth outfielder? Then again, I guess “affordable” doesn’t really mean anything to the Yankees, but you get my point. It’s not that I think he’s a bad player, I just don’t think that the Yankees need him.

      ———

      I’m going to defend Swisher here because jmeisner just shit all over his defense and personality with nothing to back it up.

      ———

      Actually, I didn’t say anything about Swisher’s defense in my comment, I just said that we don’t need him. But personality-wise, yeah, I did shit on him. Don’t you remember all of the quotes from him about playing with the White Sox last year that were along the lines of, “Oh, I didn’t hit well last year because I was in the leadoff spot, which I’m just not used to”? I think that means you can expect some, “Oh, I’m not hitting well this year because I’m not an everyday player, which I’m not used to” if he indeed is the Yankees’ fourth or fifth outfielder this year. Cashman said that Swisher was acquired to play first base, but those plans have been scrapped with the Teixeira signing. If Cashman can flip Swisher for a bullpen arm, he should go ahead and do it.

    9. YankCrank
      December 28th, 2008 | 1:39 pm

      “But personality-wise, yeah, I did shit on him”

      I remember David Wells having character issues when he got wasted all the time, wrote a book that caused a circus reaction with the media amongst other problems he had with the Yankees. I also remember El Duque and JoPo having character issues when they were hot headed and would fight on the mound on occasion. Gary Sheffield thought Torre was a racist and came out and said it before 2007, Randy Johnson didn’t acknowledge his teammates in any way during his tenure. All of the teams that had those players either won World Series or divisions. So you’re going to tell me Swisher being upset that the White Sox took a middle of the order corner outfielder/1b and made him a leadoff centerfielder was a bad thing? They tried to make Swisher something he isn’t, and because he didn’t do well at something he’s not capable of doing, they benched him. Wouldn’t you be upset? I wouldn’t classify that as character issues, i’d classify it as bad scouting and planning by the White Sox organization. He was a fan favorite and a clubhouse staple for the A’s so I sincerely doubt we have to worry about Nick Swisher being a clubhouse cancer.

      As for affordability, yes, $5 million is affordable when Matsui and Damon each make $13 million and Nady will see an increase to $8-9 million. We need a whole new outfield in 2009, A-Jax may not be ready to be called up, so if we deal an an affordable Swish than we will pay for a new outfield via free agency…meaning more and more Yankee money spent. So what if he was acquired for insurance at 1b? That changed, and he happens to be an above-average corner outfielder who is young and cost-controlled until (i believe) 2012. Nady and Damon are Boras clients and gone after 2009, Matsui will not be retained and with a team trying to get younger, more athletic and flexible…Swish is just that.

    10. Raf
      December 28th, 2008 | 1:44 pm

      If Cashman can flip Swisher for a bullpen arm, he should go ahead and do it.
      ———-
      Nah, they have enough pen arms.

    11. Rambis35
      December 28th, 2008 | 2:35 pm

      I don’t think the Yankees need to move an outfielder. I would rather have depth and be able to have options off the bench, keep players fresh, and be prepared in case of an injury. I would be ok moving Matsui, since he cannot realistically play the field, and Nady and Swisher can play a few positions (what about Matsui for Figgins?). If I had to choose though, I would much rather keep Swisher then Nady. Nady would almost certainly bring back more based on their 2008 seasons. Swisher is likely to hit as well as Nady, if not better. Here are Swisher and Nady’s RCAA/OWP figures from 06-08.

      Swisher
      06 – 23 RCAA, .610 OWP
      07 – 25 RCAA, .631 OWP
      08 – -11 RCAA, .434 OWP

      Nady
      06 – -2 RCAA, .491 OWP
      07 – 0 RCAA, .498 OWP
      08 – 23 RCAA, .625

      I think Nady will settle in between his 07 and 08 production, but I think Swisher is just as likely to bounce back, based on BABIP, LD%, etc.

    12. #15
      December 28th, 2008 | 3:03 pm

      Matsui should be the one to go. Great guy, but his game has declined. He offers the least all-around game of the group, has some cache as a DH/bat, and is the least athletic in the group. How about Matsui to Seattle (plus maybe a pitching prospect) for Ichiro? i.e., trade what we have a lot of, for what we need. Ichiro isn’t liking Seattle anymore, needs a change of scenary, solves our CF vacuum, has great defensive skills, and gets us some more team speed and 200+ hits a season. Matsui would sell well in Seattle.

    13. Raf
      December 28th, 2008 | 4:40 pm

      How about Matsui to Seattle (plus maybe a pitching prospect) for Ichiro?
      ———-
      I seriously doubt the M’s make that deal, not after they let Ibanez go.

    14. mmbaseballfan
      December 28th, 2008 | 5:10 pm

      I cant believe some of the crap that is being suggested……younger and better is the way to go here. Which means move Matsui and Nady..Nady will get a salary of about 6 million in arbitration this year so he is no cheaper than Swisher. Move those two buys and you take about 19 mill off the salary and get younger and better. If Joe is looking to play Gardner in center and assuming no other moves that puts Damon in left, Gardner in center and Swisher in right. Swisher is #1 in the majors in pitch count. That makes a better and younger defensive outfield than last yr. Sign Andy and put Joba in pen. You can live with the lineup at that point and win.

    15. thenewguy
      December 28th, 2008 | 5:16 pm

      mmbaseballfan, you say:

      “I cant believe some of the crap that is being suggested……”

      and then you follow that up with this:

      “Sign Andy and put Joba in pen.”

      I believe that suggesting putting Joba back in the pen (for any reason other than his innings limit) is “crap.”

    16. thenewguy
      December 28th, 2008 | 5:25 pm

      Matsui: He has the potential to be the best of the bunch. If healthy, he could be a number 5 hitter for the Yanks. But he has a NTC and would likely bring back the least in return because of both his salary and health. This makes it undesirable to trade him.

      Nady: Likely has the most ‘value’ of any of these players at the current moment. He isn’t too expensive for next year and provides decent offense and defense. However, he is a Boras client and will require a larger payday when he hits FA in 2010. He would likely bring back a decent bounty if traded.

      Damon: Can’t really be traded. We need a leadoff hitter and (I assume) he has NTC and is making a chunk of money next year.
      I think we can all agree we don’t want to trade Damon.

      Swisher: Coming off a bad year and should bounce back (based on line drive% and (especially) BABIP.) He also played out of position both offensively and defensively. He takes a lot of pitches, has the most power of the bunch, and is a switch hitter. He is cost controlled for a long time, and should only improve upon his year last year. His ‘value’ is lowest now, and he would not bring back what he likely could after a good season. (Simply look at what the Yankees paid for him vs. what the White Sox paid for him a year before.)

      Therefore, if anyone, we should trade Nady. If we could get a good deal for Matsui, which i dont see happening, then trading Matsui might also make sense. Doesn’t make sense to trade Damon or Swisher (at least not until Swish can improve his value some.)

    17. mmbaseballfan
      December 28th, 2008 | 5:26 pm

      thenewguy

      He has not pitch a full seanson in over 2 years and then to think he is going to come in and not have more problems is iffy at best. I would hope the yanks would want to protect Joba inning limits and AJ’s past as well as CC throwing over 450 innings in the past two years and Wang coming off almost nothing last year. They are going to have to prepare for this and Joba in the pen is the best way. It is a way to protect him and the staff because they need to pitch or it doesn’t matter who they sign it will be another 200 million no playoff season

    18. Raf
      December 28th, 2008 | 5:46 pm

      I would hope the yanks would want to protect Joba inning limits and AJ’s past as well as CC throwing over 450 innings in the past two years and Wang coming off almost nothing last year.
      —–
      Joba will be in the rotation. He should throw around 100-150 innings this year. We’ll see Kennedy, Hughes & Aceves in the mix as well.

    19. clintfsu813
      December 28th, 2008 | 5:54 pm

      I was in Fenway when Joba went 7 and we blanked The Sux 1-0..rotation rotation rotation!

    20. mmbaseballfan
      December 28th, 2008 | 6:16 pm

      I was in Fenway when Joba went 7 and we blanked The Sux 1-0..rotation rotation rotation!

      If one game made a season then it would not matter who we had in the rotation. Ponson had a good game last year too do you want him back…… NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO… Pen give Joba 120 to 150 innings cover the 7th and 8th with Mo in the 9th. Shortens the games for the starters and protects their health. Lets not forget, as much as we all love MO, he is old and if he goes down for a while who closes if Joba is not in pen. CC, AJ, Wang, Andy, Phil. Makes everybody better, protects starters, builds arm strength and gives Yanks protection in pen if Mo(off season shoulder surgury) gets hurt.

    21. thenewguy
      December 28th, 2008 | 6:45 pm

      Makes everybody better, protects starters, builds arm strength and gives Yanks protection in pen if Mo(off season shoulder surgury) gets hurt.
      ——————

      As every discerning baseball fan knows, a *top* starting pitcher is worth so, so, so, so, so, so, so much more than a *top* 8th inning guy. If you compare Joba vs. Ponson against Joba vs. Bruney/Veras/Edwar, there is no comparison at all.

      How much does Joba really improve the 8th inning? How many more 1-2-3 innings do you think he gets than Bruney? 5? 8?

      I don’t need to rehash the entire bullpen vs. starter argument, but you really ought to know that finding an 8th inning guy is much easier than finding a top of the rotation guy. Hell, the same is true for Closers.

    22. December 28th, 2008 | 6:46 pm

      ~~Swisher is not a terrible outfielder. In fact, he is a very good corner outfielder.~~

      Prove it to me. Under what metrics?

    23. December 28th, 2008 | 6:47 pm

      ~~And, if you deal Swisher, you really need to buy another outfielder in the offseason, which likely means Holliday, or overspending on mediocrity like Nady or Bay.

      Dealing Swisher will “cost” the Yankees another $200 million dollars. I thought that was a sign of incompetence?~~

      Isn’t Austin Jackson’s ETA 2010?

    24. clintfsu813
      December 28th, 2008 | 6:50 pm

      My point exactly about the top starter issue..I did love the Joba/Mo combo, its just that game in Boston had me drooling over his potential. Im glad I dont have to make that decision, lol

    25. mmbaseballfan
      December 28th, 2008 | 7:10 pm

      As every discerning baseball fan knows, a *top* starting pitcher is worth

      ———————————————–
      Any discerning fan would have a standard for a *top* starting pitcher…at this point Joba is nothing but potential. He has nothing to show other than that to make him a top STARTING pitcher but has much more that shows us he is a top flight 7th and 8th inning guy. Not that I think the Mets are anybody role model but…..They will be a lot better with Putz and Krod as a combo on the back end than without Putz.

    26. thenewguy
      December 28th, 2008 | 8:09 pm

      They will be a lot better with Putz and Krod as a combo on the back end than without Putz.
      ——————–

      And their back-end would be even better with Johan Santana back there pitching the 7th inning. Ever wonder why they don’t have him pitch the 7th (or didn’t have him close last year?)

      …at this point Joba is nothing but potential. He has nothing to show other than that to make him a top STARTING pitcher but has much more that shows us he is a top flight 7th and 8th inning guy.
      ———————

      Well, to be sure, his sample size for both is extremely small, although he performed excellent in both facets.

      But, as a starter, these were Joba’s numbers:
      2.76 ERA, 10.19 K/9

      His bullpen numbers were, obviously, slightly better. But that’s because he only has to pitch one inning.

      2.76 era and 10.19 k/9. Is that not enough to prove to you that he can be a top flight starter? If he has the talent to be a great bullpen arm, as you say, then why wouldn’t he have the talent to be a top flight starter? Especially if his only sample as a starter has him at 2.76 ERA and 10.19 k/9?

      I really cannot believe we are still arguing about this. Joba has proven (as much as one can in a small sample size) that he can be an elite reliever AND an elite starter. THEREFORE, YOU PUT HIM IN THE ROTATION. IT’S NOT HARD TO UNDERSTAND.

    27. butchie22
      December 28th, 2008 | 10:16 pm

      New Guy, I agree with your assessment with Joba. Steve, thanks for retorting the spin on Swisher. Swish is a gutty, grity player who is not an A level or elite player and on a 200 million dollar team he is a nice piece to use as a fourth outfielder or to give Teix rest. Otherwise the spin regarding him is hysterical. The Yankee offensive situation got better with Teix if anything , but giving up a piece like Matsui or Nady right now isn’t that smart BECAUSE they still need all the offense they can get. Unless they get a high quality prospect (either position player or pitcher) they should do it BUT not otherwise unless they add Manram. If they add Manram, then the idea of getting rid of certain pieces will make more sense……..

    28. Rambis35
      December 29th, 2008 | 1:27 am

      ~~Swisher is not a terrible outfielder. In fact, he is a very good corner outfielder.~~

      Prove it to me. Under what metrics?

      ———————————————–

      Career UZR/150 (from Fan Graphs):
      Swisher
      LF – +6.3
      CF – -10.3
      RF – +14.2

      Nady
      LF – -1.2
      CF – -41.0 (only 45 games – seems weird though)
      RF – +0.5

      BP’s FRAA
      Swisher
      LF – +11 (109 games)
      CF – -9 (101 games)
      RF – +4 (201 games)

      Nady
      LF – -6 (100 games)
      CF – -12 (45 games)
      RF – -16 (401 games)

      Definitely a discrepency in how the two systems rate Swisher’s RF defense, but it appears Swisher is above average at the corner spots, and below in CF. Nady is a little below average at the corners, but he was above average in 2008.

      I don’t know what the best metric is, but I would put Swisher ahead of Nady defensively.

      If we don’t make a deal and Gardner and Cabrera both don’t hit, would it be that awful to put Damon in LF, Swisher in CF, and Nady in RF, with Matsui at DH? Gardner/Cabrera can play defense late, and get some starts against righties (with Nady sitting) or when any of the other three get a day off? Our rotation has several strikeout/groundball pitchers, so shouldn’t Swisher’s offensive upside compared to Gardner/Cabrera atone for his shortcomings in CF?

    29. thenewguy
      December 29th, 2008 | 1:45 am

      Our rotation has several strikeout/groundball pitchers, so shouldn’t Swisher’s offensive upside compared to Gardner/Cabrera atone for his shortcomings in CF?
      ————————-

      I tend to think so, although the people who complain that about how the Yankees need a superstar at every position probably feel that Melky or Gardner will “grit” their way to the playoffs for the Yanks.

    30. December 29th, 2008 | 7:22 am

      Thanks Rambis35 – I stand corrected!

    31. December 29th, 2008 | 7:33 am

      However, the one thing that I would add/suggest…

      Playing LF in Yankee Stadium is like playing CF in some other parks…so, Swisher could still be an adventure out there, maybe.

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