• Cashman: It Will Be Difficult To Replace Swisher

    Posted by on November 8th, 2012 · Comments (13)

    Via Erik Boland-

    Brian Cashman acknowledged Wednesday that, as of this moment, there are “gaping holes” on his roster.

    Not the least of which, the general manager said, will be in rightfield if, as expected, Nick Swisher rejects the team’s $13.3-million qualifying offer by Friday and hits the market.

    At that point, Swisher likely would command a contract the Yankees, trying to get the payroll to $189 million by 2014 to avoid stiff luxury tax penalties, aren’t willing to offer.

    “Swisher was awesome for us,” Cashman said.

    The outfielder’s postseason struggles stand out in many people’s minds but Swisher, 31, was a player who, over his four years with the Yankees, averaged 26 homers and 87 RBIs per season.

    “That’s a beast,” Cashman said of the switch hitter. ” . . . If it’s not him out there, which I can’t say one way or the other, I can’t predict, but it’s going to take a lot of work to replace what he provided.”

    Enter Justin Upton, a 25-year-old rightfielder the Diamondbacks are open to moving. Upton, a two-time All-Star, has a club-friendly contract — $9.75 million next season, $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015 — and while the Yankees were on his no-trade list last season, they no longer are.

    But with a handful of teams, including the Red Sox and Phillies, needing outfielders, the Yankees, who have an interest, might not have big enough trade chips in their system to tempt Arizona GM Kevin Towers.

    Towers is familiar with the Yankees system, having spent 2010 as a special adviser to Cashman, and will be looking for top of the line, major-league-ready talent in any deal for a player of Upton’s caliber.

    “I just don’t see much there,” said one opposing team talent evaluator familiar with the Yankees’ system. “I don’t see any Monteros.”

    I just love how history, at least in Yankeeland, likes to paint this picture of Nick Swisher being this great find/trade by Brian Cashman. Oh, how people forget…

    At the time the Yankees traded for Swisher, the White Sox were looking to dump him and the Yankees were looking to give him a try at first base in the 2009 season because they had no one else to play there.

    Of course, the Yankees had so much confidence in Swisher being able to play first base and hit that they then went out and immediately signed Mark Teixeira to a mega-contract (which they now probably regret). And, Swisher was pushed to the Yankees bench. Yes, the “beast” as Cashman calls him, was a scrub player in the Yankees plans until Xavier Nady got hurt and the Yankees had no one else to turn to, in the outfield. And, then, Swisher started to hit.

    Basically, Cashman got lucky with Swisher. Yet, now, history, or should I say “his story,” is that acquiring Swisher was some master plan by him, as Swisher was “awesome” for the Yankees.

    Spare me on that whopper, please.

    Comments on Cashman: It Will Be Difficult To Replace Swisher

    1. Dimelo
      November 8th, 2012 | 9:36 am

      “Luck is the residue of design.” – Branch Rickey

      I don’t get you, you so refuse to give Cashman any credit that you force people like me to defend him. In your quest to diminish Cashman as a byproduct of multiplying by zero, the exact opposite is happening, you are actually making him look more competent because where he deserves credit you want to diminish him there, too. Thereby making you look petty.

      There are some battles that are not worth fighting, IMHO.

    2. Raf
      November 8th, 2012 | 10:56 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      Of course, the Yankees had so much confidence in Swisher being able to play first base and hit that they then went out and immediately signed Mark Teixeira to a mega-contract (which they now probably regret).

      Nope.
      MJ wrote:

      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.

      Raf wrote:

      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…

      MJ wrote:

      He’d be a great undervalued pick-up this offseason.
      ———————
      I completely agree. Swisher can hit enough to play LF or 1B (career OPS+ 112) and is still youngish. At worst, he’s certainly a better 4th option than Gardner/Melky/Justin Christian.

      That said, I generally agree that Nady was preferred over Swisher, for reasons I cannot quite understand. But to say that he was a scrub in the plans is pushing it a bit.

    3. Greg H.
      November 8th, 2012 | 12:24 pm

      Swisher had one bad year in Chicago, before that he was a pretty strong player with the A’s. That’s why Chicago gave him the contract. He didn’t get along with Ozzie, and Ozzie was staying. The Yanks got a young guy coming off a down year with a potentially big upside, for basically a bag of balls. Sure it’s a little lucky that the upside was realized, but it was a hell of a good trade for NY.

    4. MJ Recanati
      November 9th, 2012 | 10:15 am

      @ Raf:
      I’m deeply honored that you went into the deep winter ’08 archives to find my comments on the subject! Needless to say, I stand by them now as I did then.

      @ Steve L.:
      Your logic is flawed here or, more to the point, you’re reading into Cashman’s factual statement and trying to extrapolate a self-congratulatory tone from the GM.

      Cashman is looking retrospectively at the past four seasons of production that Swisher provided. Irrespective of your feelings towards the player’s personality or his postseason shortcomings, Swisher was indeed a valuable player for the team (worth 2.5 bWAR over his four seasons in New York).

      The Yankees acquired Swisher for next to nothing because the White Sox had gotten negative value from him in 2008. Yes, the White Sox had bought high on the player and were looking to sell him for whatever they could get. Cashman, astutely, took a chance on a player that had a high probability of returning to previous form. Sure enough, that’s exactly what Swisher did. To say that Cashman was lucky is not accurate given all that we know about statistics and players reverting to their career norms (as long as the scouting concurs that there has been no skill erosion or drastic change in approach). Cashman took a shot that odds favored a successful trade and he was proven correct. Other GM’s may have also made the same gamble but the Yankees struck first with Swisher. Had he been a successful reclamation project in another city, would that GM have been lucky or would you have used it as an example to show a GM taking a low-risk chance on a high-probability payoff?

      That the Yankees preferred Nady to Swisher was inexplicable at the time and remains just as confusing all these many years later. I don’t know if that was Girardi’s preference or Cashman’s preference or the preference of the scouting department. In any case, it was wrong. But, again, that doesn’t make the Swisher aquisition any less successful.

      As to the point about Teixeira: the Yankees may have been interested in Teixeira all along but had to clear the money aspect of the deal with the Steinbrenners. As such, acquiring Swisher was an appropriate hedge to not landing Teixeira. The best case scenario ended up happening but it’s just as possible that Teixeira could’ve signed elsewhere. Had that happened, Swisher could’ve been used at 1B and Nady would’ve still been the opening day RF.

    5. MJ Recanati
      November 9th, 2012 | 10:21 am

      Greg H. wrote:

      Sure it’s a little lucky that the upside was realized,

      Is it luck or is it playing the probabilities of regression to the mean? Obviously there’s a range of outcomes but I’d say odds favored Swisher’s bounceback so the fact that the Yankees got an average of 2.5 bWAR out of Swisher was less luck than just a player getting out of a bad situation and going back to being the player he had been prior to his exit from Oakland.

    6. Raf
      November 9th, 2012 | 6:45 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      @ Raf:
      I’m deeply honored that you went into the deep winter ’08 archives to find my comments on the subject!

      It becomes a lot easier when Steve links to the entries containing the comments :D

    7. LMJ229
      November 9th, 2012 | 11:48 pm

      Cashman can be criticized for a lot of things but the Swisher trade probably isn’t one of them. What concerns me the most is the last paragraph in the article you quoted suggesting that the Yankees don’t have much in the way of prospects that can be used as trade bait. Now that’s something you can criticize Cashman for – an aging roster that gets less productive each year and no relief from the minors in sight. That’s a very bad combination.

    8. MJ Recanati
      November 10th, 2012 | 9:37 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      What concerns me the most is the last paragraph in the article you quoted suggesting that the Yankees don’t have much in the way of prospects that can be used as trade bait.

      One anonymous “team talent evaluator familiar with the Yankees’ system” could be anyone, including someone employed by a team that wants to drive down the value of Yankee prospects in order to get more for his club. Further, just because someone says something, doesn’t make it true. Don’t believe everything written in newspapers. Although Boland isn’t Lupica, tabloids aren’t above fabricating quotes in general.

      Just food for thought.

    9. Raf
      November 10th, 2012 | 11:16 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      What concerns me the most is the last paragraph in the article you quoted suggesting that the Yankees don’t have much in the way of prospects that can be used as trade bait. Now that’s something you can criticize Cashman for – an aging roster that gets less productive each year and no relief from the minors in sight.

      They’ve spun off position players like Jose Tabata, Jesus Montero & Austin Jackson at varying times the past few years. With prospects, all it takes is a season for someone to step up. If the Yanks can’t make a trade, they’ll sign someone (at whatever tier they decide to target), or promote someone.

    10. McMillan
      November 20th, 2012 | 8:05 pm

      Swisher was a good trade. The team is going to have a few years at least of less competitiveness than in the past because it is now intent on reducing its payroll but will not take the opportunity to enter a rebuilding phase and replenish its farm system. If it can not, or will not, relieve itself of its contractual obligations to Sabatha, Teixeira, Rodriguez, etc., has no talent to promote or trade from within the minor league system, and must reduce its payroll to $189 million or below, the team’s prospects for getting past the first round of the playoffs in the next few years are not realistic. So put together the best rotation you can until you’re ready to start printing money again, and you’ll go as far into the post season as that rotation will take you; at least with a strong starting staff and an expanded playoff format you’ll have a chance to compete for a pennant.

      @ LMJ229:

    11. Evan3457
      November 20th, 2012 | 8:50 pm

      McMillan wrote:

      If it can not, or will not, relieve itself of its contractual obligations to Sabatha, Teixeira, Rodriguez…

      How can it?
      Sabathia is worth what he’s being paid in marginal value.
      Tex and A-Rod are unmovable unless the Yanks pick up the majority of salary owed or more.

      As you well know, cutting them doesn’t relieve the salary burden.

    12. Mr. October
      July 3rd, 2013 | 3:44 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      Now that’s something you can criticize Cashman for – an aging roster that gets less productive each year and no relief from the minors in sight. That’s a very bad combination.

      Amen. And with diminished production from more than two positions and an injury(ies) to a Granderson or Teixeira, that very bad combination can turn a 2nd place team into a 4th or 5th place very quickly.

    13. Evan3457
      July 3rd, 2013 | 5:12 pm

      Mr. October wrote:

      LMJ229 wrote:
      Now that’s something you can criticize Cashman for – an aging roster that gets less productive each year and no relief from the minors in sight. That’s a very bad combination.
      Amen. And with diminished production from more than two positions and an injury(ies) to a Granderson or Teixeira, that very bad combination can turn a 2nd place team into a 4th or 5th place very quickly.

      Seriously?

      You’re responding to a thread from 9 months as if it’s relevant to what’s happening right now, when it was posted, and the replies ended before 5 of 6 players who suffered serious injuries got injured/re-injured?

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