What’s Wrong With Swish?

Everyone seems ready to get rid of Nick Swisher. The Yankees hold an option on his contract for this upcoming year and it seems like the fanbase would be thrilled to see the Yankees not pick that up and let Swish take his talents elsewhere. The reason of course if another poor postseason. Swisher hit .211 in the ALDS and when coupled with the 100 or so other postseason AB’s he has had as a Yankee (not pretty), fans feel comfortable saying he can’t perform in the playoffs.

It’s a frustrating argument because while the numbers are awful, the sample size is way, way too small. Look at a sainted Yankee, Paul O’Neill. In his first World Series (as a Red) he hit .083. In the 96 Series .167. In the 98 Series .211. In the 99 Series .200. Add it all up and he was 10-for-67 in the World Series with 3 doubles, no homers and 5 RBI’s. Clearly, a guy who couldn’t handle the biggest stage in baseball, right? You see where this is going. In the 2000 World Series, O’Neill amazingly put up a line of .474/.545/.789 and in the 2001 World Series he was one of the very few Yankees to hit, putting up a line of .333/.412/.400.

And that to me is why not exercising Swisher’s option is madness. For $10.25 million, the Yankees will get a player who is an above-average bat in right. Baseball Prospectus ranked him as the 8th-most productive rightfielder in baseball. He will be entering his walk year and looking for a big deal after the season, so expect him to show up to camp in the best shape of his life. When the season ends, the Yankees can offer him arbitration, which he will almost surely reject, and thereby receive two draft picks when he signs elsewhere. It’s hard for me to see a downside for the Yankees in this move.

I’d love to see Swisher have a huge October next year. And if he puts up his usual .820+ OPS during the regular season, he will be a reason they got there.