Nick Swisher is a very happy (and very wealthy) man this Christmas Eve, perhaps happier than this Ohio native has ever been before.
Per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, the Cleveland Indians inked Swisher to a four-year, $56 million deal.
Swisher, 32, spent the past four seasons playing for manager Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees.
An energetic, jovial ballplayer, Swisher was a model of consistency for the Yankees during the regular season. In 598 regular-season games, Swisher batted .267 with 105 home runs and 349 RBI.
Swisher’s best season for the Yankees was in 2010 when he batted .288 with 29 home runs and 89 RBI in 150 games.
Unfortunately for Swisher, he will be best remembered by Yankees fans for his subpar performance in the postseason.
In 36 playoff games for New York, Swisher batted .161 (21-for-130) with four home runs and eight RBI.
To say he's comparable to Jekyll and Hyde is an understatement. This slideshow will express five big reasons why the Yankees were absolutely correct in letting Swisher go.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a brutal condition that includes painful stiffness and swelling in one’s joints.
When left unchecked, it can keep people from partaking in activities they want to do in the future.
By comparison, Werthatoid arthritis is an equally tough condition that includes Yankees brass grimacing at the seven-year, $126 million disaster the Washington Nationals signed Jayson Werth to in December 2010.
Since signing with the Nats, Werth has hit .255 (220-for-861) with 25 homers and 89 RBI in 231 games.
By comparison, in 2012 Swisher batted .272 (146-for-537) with 24 home runs and 93 RBI in 148 games.
By letting Swisher walk, the Yankees will not only keep walking the frugal green line to prosperity, but the team will also hold onto critical revenue in a tough economy to use in the future.
While Yankees fans bark about their team nearing qualification for senior discounts, the Yankees front office is very quietly working to usher in a new era of young ballplayers.
Nothing is more evident of this than looking at the Yankees Top 10 Prospects list.
Of the 10 prospects, five are outfielders. These outfielders are Mason Williams (No. 2 prospect), Tyler Austin (No. 3), Slade Heathcott (No. 5), Zoilo Almonte (No. 7) and Ramon Flores (No. 10)
Two of these outfielders (Almonte and Flores) are currently on the Yankees 40-man roster.
While Williams, Austin and Heathcott are still perhaps a year or two away from the show, Almonte, Flores and Mesa will compete in spring training to join Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki in the Yankees outfield.
And while Brett Gardner is the lead candidate to play left field in 2013, his history of injury may very well open the door for one of these young prospects.
The coolest thing about big league baseball is anything can happen at any time. Applied to the Yankees, it seems like any string can be pulled at any time.
Citing reason No. 3, the fact that the Yankees now have prospects to trade (as opposed to seasons past when George Steinbrenner went on compulsive spending sprees) puts this club in a great position to make a huge move prior to the 2013 MLB trade deadline.
When I say prospects, I don't mean the Yankees simply have outfield prospects. This team has a stud catching prospect in Gary Sanchez. There is also shortstop prospect Dante Bichette Jr. and second base speedster Angelo Gumbs.
And for all the huge attention Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances receive, the Yankees have ridiculous pitching prospects in Adam Warren, Nik Turley, Jose Ramirez and Mark Montgomery, to name a few.
There is also No. 6 prospect hurler Ty Hensley, who has potential to be a filthy big league pitcher one day.
Note, this wealth of pitching does not include under-the-radar pitching prospects like Kelvin Perez (7-1/1.03 ERA), Pedro Guerra (4-1/1.76 ERA) and the seemingly endless entourage of pitchers like Rafael De Paula (8-2/1.46 ERA), Erick Canela (7-1/1.29 ERA) and Daury Aquino (5-0/1.79 ERA) playing for the DSL Yankees 1.
Perhaps the Yankees can package some of these prospects to acquire a young top-tier outfielder. Maybe the Yankees hang on to these guys as part of the team’s frugal philosophy.
Whatever the outcome, the fact the Yankees have a nice crop of prospects to deal is refreshing to say the least.
I know this sounds like an obvious statement, but it is worth noting.
To fervent Boston Red Sox fans, Youkilis signing with “the Evil Empire” was a giant kick in the gut.
Yet to the objective, emotionally removed fan, Youkilis signing with the Yankees was a business move to replace the injured Alex Rodriguez, plain and simple.
But it would be naïve to state Cashman’s move was not a stepping stone for possible future thievery of another BoSox player in the future.
Unless traded or signed to an extension, Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will become a free agent after the 2013 season.
It will be interesting to see where Ellsbury lands should Boston collectively say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Should Ellsbury depart the AL East altogether, the Yankees have options. A few options include Martin Prado, Nelson Cruz, Hunter Pence, Shin Soo Choo and Corey Hart. Of course, anything could happen with these guys between now and 2014.
While opinions about Swisher vary amongst Yankees fans, Swisher and the Yankees brass handled this test with dignity and class.
In the end it was a win-win for Swisher and the Yankees.
Swisher received a sweet $56 million “Swish-mas” gift from the Tribe, as so cleverly penned by MLB.com writer Jordan Bastian.
Swisher will re-deploy his uncanny swagger, smile and appreciated salutes to American troops around the world with him to Cleveland.
In turn, the Yankees gained flexibility to continue to beat the crap out of the Indians for years to come. They did this while keeping cash in their own treasury to perhaps give a young outfielder a gift of his own one day.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
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