Nick Swisher to Yankees: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 13, 2016

Atlanta Braves' Nick Swisher rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Nick Swisher has fallen on hard times over the last two years, but the former All-Star is getting another chance to revive his career by returning to the New York Yankees

Per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Swisher's minor league deal with the Yankees is official, and he will report to Triple-A Scranton on Thursday. 

Since playing 145 games for the Cleveland Indians in 2013, Swisher has missed 151 games the past two years due to knee injuries. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in August, appearing in 46 games and hitting .195/.349/.339. 

Since the Braves have undertaken a massive rebuilding effort, the team released Swisher one week before Opening Day and with $15 million left on his contract.

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez told MLB.com's Mark Bowman that if Swisher is "with an American League team, he fits. But it would have been tough to get at-bats for him here."

MLB Network's Jon Heyman heard something similar from a rival general manager coming out of spring training:

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

swisher didnt move great in spring training, but rival GM says, "he could help an AL club" #yanks

While there is not a lot of recent success at the MLB level for Swisher, there was a time when he was one of the most consistent hitters for years, per Baseball-Reference.com:

Baseball Reference @baseball_ref

Nick Swisher is one of 14 players w/8+ 20 HR seasons in the last 10 years https://t.co/E4nmOQkvj5

There's an inherent risk the Yankees are taking in signing Swisher, because he has to prove his knees are capable of handling the grind of playing 162 games. The 35-year-old used to be one of MLB's most durable players, as he appeared in at least 145 games every season from 2006-13. 

However, because the Yankees only gave Swisher a minor league deal, the team can cut bait easily if things don't work out.

Age has certainly caught up to Swisher, though he was at least healthy enough to play in 17 games during spring training before being released. He's got to be in a situation that doesn't ask him to use his legs often, either as a first baseman who gets one day off each week or as a full-time designated hitter. 

The Yankees have plenty of those types of players already with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, but Teixeira missed 237 games the previous three seasons, and Beltran didn't play more than 133 games in either of his first two seasons in New York.

If Swisher is able to stay on the field, he will be able to provide a solid on-base percentage because of his patience in the batter's box. There won't be much power because his legs aren't as strong as they once were, but teams will always take a chance on someone who takes good at-bats and gets on base. 

Swisher's best seasons came as a member of the Yankees from 2009-12, so it's no surprise he would hope to revive his career wearing pinstripes.