On November 13, 2008, Brian Cashman made one of his rare very shrewd moves. He acquired 1B/OF Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox for two minor leaguers and utility man Wilson Betemit.
Swisher, a classic “Moneyball” type player (low average, high OBP, bad fielder), was coming off a down year with the White Sox in 2008. He hit .219 and White Sox GM Kenny Williams was quick to get rid of Swisher.
Cashman picked him up as low-risk, high-reward player.
Not only did Swisher have a nice come back year with a hitting line of .249/.371/.498 and 29 homeruns, but he also added a dimension to the Yankee clubhouse that they didn’t have before. He got the normally uptight Yankees to loosen up with his care-free attitude and almost comedic personality.
However, things have turned sour for Swisher in the playoffs. Through the first two rounds of the playoffs and Game One of the World Series, Swisher is just 4-for-35 (.078 avg.) with no HR’s and no extra-base hits.
To be honest, he looks completely lost at the plate.
Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi has stood by Swisher throughout these playoffs, but now one has to wonder if his patience has worn thin. Girardi has to be contemplating a move with Swisher.
Believe it or not, Girardi has two alternatives to Swisher in the outfield. Eric Hinske, who was recently added to the roster and Jerry Hairston might provide the Yankees with a better matchup versus Pedro Martinez.
Here are the stats for Hinske and Hairston versus Martinez.
Hinske: .267 with one HR in 30 AB’s
Hairston: .370 with a .433 OBP in 27 AB’s
Swisher is 0-for-2 lifetime versus Martinez, which is clearly is not enough of a sample size to judge. But right now, it doesn’t matter how many times Swisher has faced Martinez in the past. He can’t hit anybody right now.
If Girardi is going to ever bench Swisher in the World Series, Game Two would be the game to do it.
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