Let's just say the outfielder market is thinning by the day, and who knows what will be available. Baltimore locked up their center fielder Adam Jones for the next six years, the Dodgers extended Andre Ethier for the next five years. Will the Yankees do the same with Nick Swisher?
The 31-year-old right fielder is set to hit the free-agency pool this upcoming offseason. Could this be his last season playing in the Bronx?
In each of Swisher's previous three years in pinstripes, he's played in 150 games. This shows endurance, and although he suffered some setbacks, he would come back to give his all. In those three seasons, he's homered 81 times, driving in 256 runs. This is great production for someone who fills in holes wherever necessary, depending on the lineup manager Joe Girardi sends out.
The biggest thing Swisher brings to the table is his ability to get on base. In his first season, he drew a walk 97 times. He has very good discipline at the plate and that is a gift in itself.
Swish isn't a burden on the Yankees defensively either. While his arm is not the strongest compared to other right fielders, it is not one you can just find on a shelf in Walmart next to the water pistols. In his 453.2 innings in right field this season, he has only two errors; this goes with his two assists on the season.
Let's not forget that Swisher is a fan favorite—especially for those bleacher creatures during roll call. Although it's the Yankee brand name that sells tickets, Swisher has a positive energy that the crowd is attracted to.
However, Swisher is certainly replaceable. With a few big name outfielders in the free-agent market (Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton and Melky Cabrera), there are alternatives. The front office could also just promote someone from their farm system to fill the void if need be. While this is the cheaper route, it certainly won't be as productive offensively as Swishalicious.
Nick is making a little over $10 million this season, and it's hard to imagine the Yankees increasing that by more than $2 million.
With that being said, I think we could see the right fielder traded for whatever value presents itself. A few months back, Jim Bowden of ESPN had stated that the Atlanta Braves were targeting Swisher. I'm not sure what it is exactly the Braves are willing to part with to gain Swisher's services, but it could happen.
While I do like Swish, his time in pinstripes may come to an end shortly. If he's looking for maximum money, he won't receive it from the Steinbrenners, especially when their priority will be to keep Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. Swisher means a lot to the fans of the Bronx Bombers, but this is a business run by Hal, which means the fans shouldn't keep their hopes up.