• The Swisher Time Bomb Is Ready To Blow

    Posted by on April 28th, 2009 · Comments (46)

    Two weeks ago, I wrote:

    Presently, everyone in Yankeeland is in love with Nick Swisher – and this includes the Yankees, their fans, the Yankees beat writers and just about every Yankees blogger to be found. And, why not? Swisher is batting extremely well now, he’s playing multiple positions – including pitching! – and is providing lots of good quotes and sound bites, etc.

    However, it should be noted that last season, while playing for the Chicago White Sox, Swisher got off to a great start as well. In his team’s first 12 games in 2008, Nick started in 11 of them. During that time, he collected 50 Plate Appearances and fashioned the following BA/OBA/SLG line: .289/.460/.474 – yes, that’s an On Base Average of four-sixty!

    But, then, Swisher hit the skids in Chicago. After those first dozen games, it was all downhill for Nick. In his team’s next 20 games in 2008, Swisher started in 20 of them. During that time, he collected 89 Plate Appearances and fashioned the following BA/OBA/SLG line: .147/.270./213 – which is down-right ugly.

    So, what happens if Nick Swisher, in a week or so, goes just as cold for the Yankees this season as he did for the White Sox in 2008? Will everyone in Yankeeland love as much then and they do now?

    Related, let’s take a look at Swisher’s season for the Yankees, to date:

    First 10 games of the season: 37 PA and BA/OBA/SLG line of .406/.486/1.000 and 6 K’s
    Last 9 games of the season: 42 PA and BA/OBA/SLG line of .171/.310/.257 and 13 K’s

    Looks like ol’ Saint Nick is following his pattern from last year, huh? The Yankees better hope that Xavier Nady gets better and fast – they’re going to need someone to play right field, in place of Swisher, in a hurry.

    Comments on The Swisher Time Bomb Is Ready To Blow

    1. YankCrank
      April 28th, 2009 | 10:05 am

      He’s certainly on the skids as we speak. Let’s hope it’s ends quickly, considering Nady won’t be in the picture any time soon.

    2. Pat F
      April 28th, 2009 | 10:07 am

      hahahahahhahahahahahaha!

      is it possible that, much like he made a turn from hot to cold, that he might turn back from cold to hot? or cold to his career levels? or is it going to keep going like this because it kept going like this for him last season?

      swisher is batting .284/.392/.612 and is second on the team to cano in both rbi and runs scored. how he got there, hot and cold, consistent, or otherwise. this is where he is. he’s the least of this team’s concerns. even when he’s batting .171, his obp is still over .300, and that’s value, as is his glove. but yes, nady better hurry back. because he’ll never have any cold stretches and just be his usual 105 ops+ barely above league averge self every single game (for the record, i love nady, and we need him back asap, but it has nothing to do with swisher cooling off).

    3. Raf
      April 28th, 2009 | 10:07 am

      A hitter in a mini-slump? ZOMG!!11!!1!

    4. Corey
      April 28th, 2009 | 10:13 am

      honestly, having seen the games, he doesn’t look as bad at the plate lately as that batting line would suggest…he trusts his eye a lot so he got a few called third strikes, and his outs in play are usually hit hard

    5. long time listener
      April 28th, 2009 | 10:16 am

      Geez, over-react much? He was never going to hit .400 over a full season. He’s going to hit about .270, walk a lot, strike out some, hit for some power, and play a few positions. That’s what we thought we were getting – and we only gave up Betemit to get it.

    6. handtius
      April 28th, 2009 | 10:19 am

      jumping to conclusions much?

    7. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 10:29 am

      That’s what we thought we were getting – and we only gave up Betemit to get it.
      ——-
      Bingo. We got a pretty good something for a whole lot of nothing.

    8. April 28th, 2009 | 11:21 am

      Uh, didn’t the Yankees also have to take on the rest of Swisher’s long-term contract whereas WB would have been done after this year?

    9. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:26 am

      Uh, didn’t the Yankees also have to take on the rest of Swisher’s long-term contract whereas WB would have been done after this year?
      ——-
      Point being? If you’re the GM, you’d rather have a no-field/no-hit player on your 25-man roster and the cash in your pocket or the money invested in a player that can play at least three positions and provide at least league average offense and defense?

    10. BOP
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:27 am

      Steve.

      What did Swisher do for you that you try to knock evrey chance you have, he’s not Brian Cashman he’snly a player trying to win for the yanks.

    11. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:29 am

      FWIW, between his 2009, 2010 and 2011 salaries and the $1M buyout on his 2012 option, the Yanks owe Swisher $22M. That’s roughly $7M/year. I’d happily pay $7M a year to a guy that’s no worse than league average and, frankly, better than that to give me innings and depth in the OF and at 1B.

    12. Corey
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:36 am

      plus hes a shut down reliever :P

    13. bfriley76
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:40 am

      I’d gladly pay a hair over $21 million for three years of his career average 113 OPS+. Especially since metrics rate him as an above average corner outfielder, and a more than adequate back-up first baseman. Maybe we should wait at least until the season is over before deciding he’s not worth it. Nine games does not a season make, good or bad.

    14. bfriley76
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:42 am

      Looks like MJ beat me to the punch while I was crafting my response. Completely agree with everything he said.

    15. Pat F
      April 28th, 2009 | 12:41 pm

      what is the problem with having swisher’s “long term contract”? isn’t the idea to get good players at good value? especially when you give up nothing to get them? what good does 1. having a player as useless as betemit on the roster for another year and 2. getting rid of his “contract” at the end of the year do us? at the VERY LEAST, we have a 4th outfielder who hits from both sides of the plate, play run saving defense at both corners and first base, and is good for between 80-100 walks and 20-25 homers ever year. and we get all this for half of what the red sox are paying jd drew. what is the issue here?

    16. thenewguy
      April 28th, 2009 | 12:49 pm

      First off, the money is of no issue to the Yankees because roughly $7 mil per year is chump change for the Yanks.

      Personally, I would prefer to look at Swisher’s career instead of one season in Chicago.

      I’ll wait for another 2 months to decide if “Swisher is following his pattern from last year.”

    17. April 28th, 2009 | 12:54 pm

      LOL. It’s funny, the money is never important, to the Yankees, according to the fans, when it’s someone who the fans like…for whatever reason. But, to the Yankees, I’m sure, the money matters. Otherwise, if money is no object, then why not just renew Abreu at the end of the year?

      The answer is simple: Because you don’t want to overpay for production. And, it’s no different than overpaying Abreu by $10 million for one year than it is overpaying Swisher for the next three.

      OK, from the reactions to this, it seems that many of you are still in love with Swisher. That’s good. I hope you feel the same way at the All-Star break this year. I’ll be happy to ask you again then… ;-)

    18. bfriley76
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:00 pm

      Steve…don’t you think saying that pro Swisher people “Love” him is the same as people here saying you “Hate” Phil Hughes, which, if I remember correctly, you’re not too fond of? I think the general reaction on this thread is that most pro-Swisher people accept and appreciate him for what he is and think the avg. $7 million a year is a good investment…regardless of a 9-game slump.

    19. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:02 pm

      OK, from the reactions to this, it seems that many of you are still in love with Swisher. That’s good. I hope you feel the same way at the All-Star break this year. I’ll be happy to ask you again then…
      ——-
      It’s got nothing to do with being “in love” with Swisher. You made an inference that the Yanks are stuck with an expensive player that doesn’t produce and I (because I won’t speak for anyone else) replied that the Yanks got value for a useless player given the fact that (1) Swisher plays at a league average or better level and (2) the Yanks expunged a worthless player from their 25 man roster and replaced him with someone that could start on other teams.

      It’s not that the money is no issue, it’s that $7M is good value for a player of Swisher’s caliber and for what he offers the Yankees. Abreu played one position (poorly) and hit at above league average. You spent all winter telling us why his defense was so bad that it outweighed his offensive contributions. We have a player that brings something to the table (offense) and takes nothing off it (defense) signed at $4M more over three years than what it would’ve taken to retain Abreu for one year ($18M).

      Steve, you’re being disingenuous and inconsistent in your argument at best and illogical at worst.

    20. Pat F
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:13 pm

      steve – it has nothing to do with “love” regarding money. it has to do with value. if i thought swisher stunk, i’d be complaining about 7 mil a year for him because it’s not good value. but the beautiful thing about baseball is that we have numbers. as a reasonable person, i know that someone who puts up ops+’s of 101, 101, 125, 127, 92, and 158 does not stink. in fact, it’s very good production. not good, very good. so whether i like swisher or not, i know we have a player who offers very good production, versatility, and relative youth for $7 million dollars. it’s not about the money being important or unimportant relative to a player i like or dislike. it’s about a player who offers more value than what we are paying him. some call it a “good deal”. that’s how i view swisher.

    21. YankCrank
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:17 pm

      OK, from the reactions to this, it seems that many of you are still in love with Swisher.
      —–

      I believe your words during the KC series were, “Ok guys, i’m officially on board” when referring to Nick Swisher. The fact you’re off board after a mini-slump really seems like you have it out for him.

      The Yankees, including Nick Swisher, have played 19 games. Try not to jump overboard on either of them any time soon.

    22. Pat F
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:22 pm

      and even if you think swisher is not a starter, you need depth. $7 million for a guy who can play 3 positions above average and at least one more (not including pitching!) in a pinch/emergency, that bats from both sides, and has power and on-base ability is a big plus as a 4th OF/super util type. you can’t find many guys out there who can play 3 positions above average, hit 20-25 homers, walk 80-100 times, and get paid $7 million or less. he’s a very good player pretty much any way you slice it outside of one bad season (bad if you’re big on batting average of course, not bad if you’re someone who understands you can have a low BA and still offer a lot of production).

    23. April 28th, 2009 | 1:22 pm

      YankCrank wrote:

      I believe your words during the KC series were, “Ok guys, i’m officially on board” when referring to Nick Swisher. The fact you’re off board after a mini-slump really seems like you have it out for him.

      My exact words then:

      “Hey, it’s Jack Black’s world and the Yankees should just be happy to be living in it. Consider me on board. You have to keep playing Nick Swisher while he’s this locked in…”

      And, is Swisher still that locked in now? Nope.

    24. April 28th, 2009 | 1:25 pm

      bfriley76, MJ, Pat – If Swisher hits .219 this season, then how is he worth the $7 million?

    25. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:27 pm

      MJ, Pat – If Swisher hits .219 this season, then how is he worth the $7 million?
      —–
      For a guy who talks about sabermetrics an awful lot, I’m surprised at this comment.

    26. April 28th, 2009 | 1:28 pm

      MJ wrote:

      For a guy who talks about sabermetrics an awful lot, I’m surprised at this comment.

      OPS, alone, is not the answer MJ. See: Dunn, Adam. Great OPS. Crappy player.

    27. April 28th, 2009 | 1:30 pm

      BOP wrote:

      Steve. What did Swisher do for you that you try to knock evrey chance you have, he’s not Brian Cashman he’snly a player trying to win for the yanks.

      It’s not personal. I think he’s overrated and has serious holes in his game. And, I’m just trying to present that, to offset all those who feel he’s this sabermetric uber-player and an astute acquistion.

    28. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:37 pm

      OPS, alone, is not the answer MJ. See: Dunn, Adam. Great OPS. Crappy player.
      ——–
      Batting average, alone, is not the answer Steve. See: Pierre, Juan. Career .300 average. Crappy player.

      RCAA? VORP?

      Steve, the mere fact that you’ve reduced your argument to Swisher’s batting average is comical. You’ve neglected a career’s worth of sample size, instead relying on last year’s pattern and 19 games of 2009.

      It’s evident that you get entrenched in your arguments and in your quest to be “proven right.” You didn’t start out disliking Swisher and I can cite many posts where you discussed him objectively. Gosh darnit, however, you won’t be deterred from hating his guts as long as you think everyone else “loves” him.

      I can’t debate this topic any further with you.

    29. YankCrank
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:40 pm

      My exact words then:

      “Hey, it’s Jack Black’s world and the Yankees should just be happy to be living in it. Consider me on board. You have to keep playing Nick Swisher while he’s this locked in…”

      And, is Swisher still that locked in now? Nope.
      ——

      If you expected Swisher to stay locked in along the lines of a .600 BA and home runs every day for the entire season, than you expected far too much from him and your assessment today is entirely unfair. Even Pujols doesn’t stay “that locked in.”

    30. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:41 pm

      And, I’m just trying to present that, to offset all those who feel he’s this sabermetric uber-player and an astute acquistion.
      ——
      Not astute? Yep, the Yanks would be better off with Wilson Betemit in 2009. Clearly.

      Shocking that $22M spread over three seasons for, AT WORST, a capable backup at three positions would qualify as the opposite of an astute acquistion. And that’s not even taking into account that he could in fact be a starting player. $7M/year for a guy that can play every day or provide depth off the bench? What’s wrong with that?

      As to having flaws in his game, of course. No one’s arguing he doesn’t. No one’s saying he’s a perfect player. A-Rod, Pujols, Manny, or Chipper Jones he ain’t. But he’s a solid major league player. Not an All-Star, not a future Hall of Famer, but a guy that can get 500 AB’s and do the job.

    31. Evan3457
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:42 pm

      Two weeks ago, I wrote…

      And I replied, on this very blog, at the moment he was at his hottest, that a slump was coming, and that it would be a bad one, something on the order of 3 for 30 with 13 K’s and 3 BB.

      Now, am I some sort of mind-blowing Kreskin or something?

      No, of course not. It’s simply this: players with usually play back to their career numbers over the great length of the season. Anyone who expected Swisher to keep hitting like that has no clue as to how players go up and down over the long season, and that, 9 times out of 10, a hot start is just a hot start.

      The good news for Swisher is that, having started off hot, he’s bought himself time to get out of the slump. Now, he’ll eventually get out of it, and slowly settle toward his career numbers, and probably wind up the season at something like .255/.350/.450, with average defense. Nothing special, but certainly worth $7 million a year over the next 3 years.

      Had he started in a slump, the Yankees organization would’ve buried him on the bench, and traded him at the earliest opportunity. and a reasonably valuable asset would’ve been wasted at 1/10 the price.

      We don’t “love” Swisher. (I know I don’t.) What we’re saying is that while we all know he’s not Paul O’Neill, he has real value that can’t be dismissed by a slump after a hot start, even after last season. The league didn’t forget how to pitch him in the 1st two weeks, only to remember over the last week or so.

      When will I start to worry about Swisher? Well, Girardi will have pulled him from the lineup before I would, maybe another two weeks. I’d say if he’s still slumping when Nady gets back, you go back to Nady, if he can play the outfield. If not, you have to look outside the organization.

    32. April 28th, 2009 | 1:44 pm

      MJ wrote:

      I can’t debate this topic any further with you.

      Cool. I’m always happy to agree to disagree. I wish more people could as well. ;-)

    33. bfriley76
      April 28th, 2009 | 1:50 pm

      bfriley76, MJ, Pat – If Swisher hits .219 this season, then how is he worth the $7 million?
      =======
      I didn’t realize we were able to look into our crystal balls and see Swisher’s final numbers for the year to validate his contract on April 28.

      I’m not going to argue the merits of batting average as a metric for determining a player’s value. I’ll just reiterate what I said earlier in the thread: Swisher playing to his career average at the plate (.245/.355/.456 .811 OPS 113 OPS+) with average or higher defensive ability in the field is worth $7 million dollars. I’m betting Swisher is going to end up closer to that than to last years numbers, which is why I think he’s worth the money.

    34. Pat F
      April 28th, 2009 | 2:06 pm

      yea MJ i feel that too my man, very well put. steve, you say we can’t use OPS alone, but then you use batting average alone. you say we can’t use something that fits our argument, but then use a similar thing that fits yours. i’d say this is, at the very least, a semi-regular occurance in your argumentation. i enjoy the back and forth, but let’s at least be reasonable.

      i also agree with MJ that you seem to get so caught up in these arguments based on any player that becomes very popular for the yankees or has a lot of hype. this is, of course, your perogative (no need to link to the post where you tell us you can post on whatever you want. no kidding, it’s your blog.). but this seems pretty pointless. nobody thought swisher was as good as he was the first two weeks. it was just fun to watch and people got excited about his energy. we all knew he’d come back to earth. but just because he comes back to earth doesn’t make him a useless player. all that a majority of us has said is that swisher is a useful player, even though he has holes as most players do. this shouldn’t be a big deal, one that most online communities can accept as just a very simple fact. and yet instead it becomes this polarizing force on this blog. wierd for sure, and i might even go as far to say that it is unfortunate because of how uneccessary it is.

    35. thenewguy
      April 28th, 2009 | 2:07 pm

      Steve, answer me this: Are you basically saying, in a nutshell, that Nick Swisher’s career is over? Do you believe that, because of a bad year last year and a bad start last two weeks, that Swisher cannot be productive again?

      Are you willing to ignore his 118 OPS+ over 3+ year in Oakland (or if you don’t like OPS+, his .361 OBP, his 80 HRs, his 255 RBIs)?

      Is there no chance he will bounce back like, say Robinson Cano appears to?

      If Swish hits .400 over the next month, what are you going to say Steve?

    36. yagottagotomo1
      April 28th, 2009 | 2:20 pm

      “what are you going to say Steve?”

      In April, I Said:“Hey, it’s Jack Black’s world and the Yankees should just be happy to be living in it. Consider me on board. You have to keep playing Nick Swisher while he’s this locked in…”

    37. April 28th, 2009 | 2:23 pm

      thenewguy wrote:

      If Swish hits .400 over the next month, what are you going to say Steve?

      That I was wrong on Swisher.

      If he hits .171 over the next 3 months, what will you say then?

    38. April 28th, 2009 | 2:33 pm

      Here’s a related question on this topic, for those willing to answer it: Do you think Kenny Williams is an idiot?

      By this, I mean, if Swisher is the great asset at the nice price, etc., why would he trade him for Betemit and bushers?

    39. yagottagotomo1
      April 28th, 2009 | 2:38 pm

      A few reasons: Swisher was not getting along with Ozzie, and more importantly, he wasnt working out in CF. They have Dye and Quentin at the corners, and Konerko and Thome at 1st/DH. They needed some help at 3rd and some pitching depth in the minors, and 7M is a lot for a team if they are going to bench him.

    40. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 2:39 pm

      Do you think Kenny Williams is an idiot?
      ——
      Personally, yes, I do. But that’s neither here nor there.

      Generally speaking, it’s very dangerous to fall into a trap where your opinion on a GM colors your view of his transaction ledger BEFORE the results are in.

      Kenny Williams could be the greatest GM in the history of baseball but even the best GM in baseball is capable of making a mistake. We all know how well-regarded Billy Beane and Theo Epstein are among baseball fans and even they have made mistakes in their careers as GM’s.

      To frame the question of what Swisher may or may not be within the confines of “if a genius like Kenny Williams traded Nick Swisher, then he must know something an idiot like Brian Cashman doesn’t know” reflects a great deal of bias in the evaluation of a player.

    41. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 2:45 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      A few reasons: Swisher was not getting along with Ozzie, and more importantly, he wasnt working out in CF. They have Dye and Quentin at the corners, and Konerko and Thome at 1st/DH. They needed some help at 3rd and some pitching depth in the minors, and 7M is a lot for a team if they are going to bench him.

      Precisely.

    42. Raf
      April 28th, 2009 | 2:48 pm

      By this, I mean, if Swisher is the great asset at the nice price, etc., why would he trade him for Betemit and bushers?
      ————
      Could be for any number of reasons. Why did Herzog trade Keith Hernandez? Why did Cashman trade Tabata?

      If Kenny Williams is some sort of baseball savant, why haven’t the White Sox done better on the field than they have?

    43. MJ
      April 28th, 2009 | 2:54 pm

      If Kenny Williams is some sort of baseball savant, why haven’t the White Sox done better on the field than they have?
      —–
      If Kenny Williams is some sort of baseball savant, why did he trade three of his top prospects (Gio Gonzalez, Fautino De Los Santos, Ryan Sweeney) for Nick Swisher and his 5Y/$26.75M contract only to trade him (and Kanekoa Texeira) a year later for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez?

      Seems like he bought high and sold low.

    44. Pat F
      April 28th, 2009 | 3:00 pm

      exactly right yagottagotomo1. there are reasons besides production that players get traded. my guess is williams could have gotten a lot more had he waited, just look what he paid for him the year before, and imagine what we could get for him now. he bought high, sold low. we bought low, and are getting a good return on investment to date. it will be hard for this not to continue if swisher plays at his career levels over 162.

    45. thenewguy
      April 28th, 2009 | 4:15 pm

      If he hits .171 over the next 3 months, what will you say then?
      ————-

      I, too, will say I’m wrong. And I will also say that I am surprised as hell, given his career averages.

    46. April 29th, 2009 | 10:31 pm

      [...] of false alarms, it looks like Jack Black might be back. Rock on. AC/DC – Back In BlackUploaded by hushhush112 [...]

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