Via Jon Heyman -
Word going around is, Nick Swisher, the Yankees’ eternally upbeat rightfield power supply, may seek a “Jayson Werth contract” when he hits free agency at the end of the year.
To baseball fans, that is well-known to mean $126 million over seven years. In other words, it’s a lot more money than most folks have guessed so far for Swish.
Second-hand or not, some Yankees people have heard that’s the figure Swisher is thinking about and may at least shoot for, and one other source who’s spoken to Swisher said that, indeed, Swisher has shown real interest in Werth’s deal. It’s believed the two sides have had no extension talks yet, as it is team policy to wait for free agency, except in rare cases.
While the $126-million figure is two to three times more than most of the estimates for Swisher, free agency brings some surprises. The Werth deal, for instance.
Swisher initially gave the usual player-speak answer, “I haven’t thought about it,” when asked if he sees the Werth deal as a fair comp for him. I tried to lighten the mood by asking if he had ever “heard” of the Werth contract, and Swisher characteristically responded by laughing uproariously. We both know, of course, that any corner outfielder who’s a very good player having a very good year (but is a bit short of being a cornerstone player) has to have thought long and hard about the Werth deal.
Eventually, he did say about Werth’s Nationals contract, “It’s a great deal for him.” And then Swisher did challenge me to look at the record.
“Check it out,” Swisher implored me. “See what it says.”
So I did. And statistically speaking, it’s pretty darned close between the two corner outfielders.
Werth was 31 when he went into his free-agent offseason, Swisher will be, too. Werth had a 19.2 WAR, Swisher has a 19.0 WAR now. I’m no WAR expert, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Swisher’s WAR will be somewhere in the range of Werth’s 19.2 by season’s end, and in fact, perhaps even exactly Werth’s 19.2.
Swisher (who is 31-years old) is good for 25 homers and 85 RBI a season (along with an OBA around .360). He’s not a great right fielder. But, he’s far from terrible out there. And, he does a surprisingly good job at first base when asked to fill in at that position on a limited basis.
However, I suspect that, in three or four years, Swisher will decline to the point where he’s a useful bench player, at best.
If someone wants to give him three years at $35 million with an option for a fourth year, I could understand that deal. But, anyone who gives him a seven-year contract for anything near or above $100 million is insane.