Nick Swisher: Breaking Down Ideal Landing Spots for Free-Agent Slugger

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 29: Nick Swisher #33 of the New York Yankees points to the dugout during MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre September 29, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

Make no mistake about it: Nick Swisher is going to get paid well this winter.

Swisher has been one of the most consistent hitters over the past eight years, averaging 26 home runs, 83 RBI and an OPS of .828. He is arguably the most attractive option remaining on the free-agent market for teams that are looking for a quality outfielder.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweeted recently that as many as six teams were known to have interest in acquiring the 32-year-old's services:

@yagottagotomo Indians, Phillies, Red Sox, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles all interested in Swisher. Big market for switch-hitting power OF.

— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 13, 2012

But alas, there's only enough Swisher for one team, and he is a better fit in some places than he is in others.

Let's take a look at the most ideal landing spots for Swish-a-licious and speculate as to what those lineups might look like if he signs on the dotted line.

 

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland has been searching for a quality right-handed bat with power to fill a corner outfield spot for quite some time, and with Shin-Soo Choo now a member of the Cincinnati Reds, the Tribe definitely has an opening in the outfield.

Swisher offers new Indians manager Terry Francona versatility, as the veteran can play all three outfield spots as well as first base (though center field is not an ideal spot for him, if we are being honest).

Of even greater importance for a relatively young Indians team is Swisher's impact in the clubhouse. Widely beloved by teammates, Swisher is as positive a clubhouse influence as there is in the game.

Adding his affable personality and winning attitude to the clubhouse would breathe new life into a team that desperately needs it.

ESPN's Jim Bowden notes that the Indians have serious interest in Swisher (via Twitter):

According to Indians source they are continuing aggressive pursuit of Nick Swisher who would replace Choo in RF.

— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) December 13, 2012

According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Swisher is set to visit Cleveland sometime this week.

Projected Lineup With Swisher Position Bats
Ezequiel Carrera LF L
Jason Kipnis 2B L
Asrdrubal Cabrera SS S
Nick Swisher RF S
Carlos Santana C S
Michael Brantley CF L
Mark Reynolds 1B R
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B L
Drew Stubbs DH R

 

Texas Rangers

Nick Swisher isn't going to replace Josh Hamilton's production in the middle of the Rangers lineup, but it's not as if there are many players that can.

Swisher's ability to play both corner outfield spots and first base would give skipper Ron Washington options at all three positions. A switch-hitter, Swisher's bat would be a welcome sight in a predominantly right-handed lineup.

Ideally, Swisher could platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base (starting there against left-handed starters) while splitting the rest of his time between the corner spots in the outfield and designated hitter.

Projected Lineup With Swisher Position Bats
Ian Kinsler 2B R
Elvis Andrus SS R
Jurickson Profar DH S
Adrian Beltre 3B R
Nick Swisher 1B S
Nelson Cruz RF R
David Murphy LF L
Geovany Soto C R
Leonys Martin CF L

 

Seattle Mariners

Seattle was banking on its ability to land Josh Hamilton via free agency. 

With Hamilton in Los Angeles, the Mariners now have to resort to Plan B when it comes to adding a quality bat with some power to the middle of the lineup, and Swisher fits that need perfectly.

Swisher would immediately become the best hitter in the emerald city, and he could step in and start in right field immediately, also spelling Justin Smoak at first base when needed.

Projected Lineup With Swisher Position Bats
Dustin Ackley 2B L
Franklin Guttierez CF R
Kyle Seager 3B L
Nick Swisher RF S
Jesus Montero DH R
John Jaso C L
Justin Smoak 1B S
Jason Bay/Michael Saunders LF R/L
Brendan Ryan SS R

 

Philadelphia Phillies

Domonic Brown has yet to break out, John Mayberry Jr. is best served as a fourth outfielder, and the Phillies need to add another quality bat to the lineup—preferably one that can hit from the right side of the plate.

Swisher immediately upgrades the Phillies outfield, pushing Brown and Mayberry Jr. into a left-field platoon, and allows Charlie Manuel to break up three consecutive left-handed bats in the top half of the lineup.

His penchant for getting on base in front of Ryan Howard's power would result in even more offense from an already powerful lineup.

Projected Lineup With Swisher Position Bats
Jimmy Rollins SS S
Ben Revere CF L
Chase Utley 2B L
Nick Swisher RF S
Ryan Howard 1B L
Michael Young 3B R
Domonic Brown LF L
Erik Kratz C R