New York Yankees: Nick Swisher Is Getting Hot at the Right Time for Bombers

Doug RushSenior Analyst IAugust 19, 2012

As the 2012 regular season is getting closer toward its end, the New York Yankees have recently been without two of their most important bats.

Alex Rodriguez, who has been out since July with a broken hand, and Mark Teixeira, who has been dealing with a nagging wrist injury that has kept him out of the games against the Boston Red Sox.

Despite not having A-Rod and Teixeira in the lineup, the Yankees have continued to maintain their spot in first place in the American League East.

A lot of that can be attributed to the part of Nick Swisher, who has been swinging a hot bat lately and picking up the slack in the offense.

In Swisher's last 12 games, he's hitting .380 (19-for-50) with four home runs and 14 RBI, which are amazing numbers.

Lately, Swisher has been hitting in the number two hole, taking that spot from Curtis Granderson who was struggling, so they put Swisher in that spot and dropped Granderson into the sixth spot in the lineup.

As of Sunday, Swisher is hitting .272 with 18 home runs and 69 RBI. On August 6, before the 12-game tear, he was hitting just .255. The 17-point increase in the batting average is on great display with Swisher's performance as of late.

It seems like Swisher may have secured that spot for the rest of the season because he is producing the results.

And not only is he producing results, but it seems like he's getting hot at the right time for the Yankees.

We all know how poorly Swisher has been for the Yankees in the playoffs. The Yankees seem like they are destined to get back to the postseason again this October, so Swisher will get another opportunity to hit in big situations.

Swisher's performance in August needs to not only carry over into September, but in October as well. The Yankees are going to need big at-bats from Swisher if they want any shot of contending against teams like the White Sox, Tigers, Angels or Rangers.

Plus, Swisher is a free agent at the end of the 2012 season, and he's one of the top outfielders who will be on the market and could acquire a multi-year deal as a free agent.

Swisher will be 32 by the time November rolls around, so a five- or six-year deal doesn't seem likely, but a three- or four-year deal definitely seems reasonable.

If Swisher really wants to stay in the Bronx and continue being a member of the New York Yankees past 2012, he has to make the Yankees see him as a player they can't afford to lose.

And the way to do that is hitting .380 in the playoffs with big home runs, and come up with big hits in crucial situations.

So by not having A-Rod and Teixeira in the lineup right now, Swisher has picked up the slack. But he can't just stop now.

Swisher is a vital part of the lineup, especially if he's going to continue hitting in the number two spot.

Most fans would like to see Swisher back for 2013 and beyond. I personally like Swisher, and if he's a productive hitter, I would like to see him back as well.

But how he fares in October is what I think will ultimately decide if they bring him back or consider going with the cheaper solution in Ichiro Suzuki in right field.

But make no mistake about it, as important as A-Rod, Teixeira, Granderson and Robinson Cano are to the Yankees winning a 28th championship, Swisher is just as big a part of that as well.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.