Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Season Assessment And Offseason Outlook: Nick Swisher

(Ray Stubblebine/Reuters)
Nick Swisher is a star in New York, but only because of his personality. That's probably why he won't be coming back next year. The Yankees will give him a qualifying offer when he signs with another team this offseason, but that's only to make sure they get something in return.

There's not much he can do. Since coming to New York he's done everything he could have. He's had at least 20 home runs, 80 RBI's, and an on-base of .350 in every one of his four years with the Bombers.

He is the perfect fit for the Yankees - likable, loud, and loves to smile

Yankees management wants to go in a different direction, and there's nothing he can do about that.

In the quest to reach a $189 million payroll, some people are going to get left behind.

Swisher is the first one that will suffer, because he would probably be back (on an overpaying contract) if the young Steinbrenners were as free-spending as their father. He's only 31, and he's going to get paid.

Chris Kwik at CBSSports.com agrees. He says Swisher could sign a deal worth a little bit less than $20 million a year. Most Yankees fans would agree that's too much, and I am one of them.

Season Assessment: The Good

In a contract year, Nick Swisher proved his worth. He hit .272 with 24 home runs and 93 RBI's. Those are great numbers for a guy that switch hits. 

In fact, his numbers batting right and lefty weren't too different in 2012. He hit just over .270 with more than 10 home runs from each side of the plate. His slugging percentage and OPS were also very similar.

It's great to have switch hitters, but even better when they're good from both sides of the plate. In terms of strategy, opposing managers cannot "defend" against switch hitters when they are as dangerous batting righty as they are lefty. 

Season Assessment: The Bad

Swisher still struck out too much (141 times), second on the team behind Granderson. That was close to his per season average with the Yanks (just under 133).

Like most New York hitters, Swisher couldn't do anything in the postseason. Swisher hit just .167, and stuck out in a third of his 30 postseason at bats. He was so bad Joe Girardi benched him for game 3 of the ALCS.

His most memorable mistake this postseason wasn't at the plate - he misplayed a ball in extra innings of game 1 of the ALCS that allowed the Tigers to take the lead in extra innings.

I'm not blaming Swisher for the team's postseason failures, because no one could hit against Detroit. He just could have done better. 

A sad ending to a short, but memorable career in Pinstripes.

My favorite Swisher memory: July 16, 2010

George Steinbrenner had just passed away, and in the first home game since the Boss's death, it was clear the Yankees fans and organization needed something to cheer them up. 

In the ninth inning, with two outs, runners on base, and the game tied 4-4, Nick Swisher sent the Bronx faithful home with a walkoff single. Swisher said he was happy to win this one and dedicated the win to George on his "day".

I remember watching this game and coming close to tears after they won, because it meant a lot to me to honor The Boss that way.

Watch it here:


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