The New York Yankees today picked up the options for 2012 on Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher. While the Cano option at $14 million is easily explainable, many (on Twitter anyway) have questioned the Yankees for picking up Nick Swisher's option for 2012 at $10.5 million. Based on what? Seriously? Based on a bad post season? Based on two bad post seasons? One Twitter bud stated that the Yankees already have too many DH options. What is this Fan missing here?
Based on his player page over at Fangraphs, Nick Swisher has averaged $15.8 million in value the last three years. He's going to be 31 years old. What are we equating this to? It's not like the Yankees are signing him to a Jayson Werth type deal or something. We're talking about a one year commitment at two thirds of his present value.
Nick Swisher was the ninth best right fielder in the majors last season. He was the eighth the season before that and ninth over the last three years. According to fielding metrics, Swisher has gotten much better in the field. Pegged with an 0.7 fielding metric last year, that figure was 6.9 this season. Even if we listen to the experts and average that out over three years, we're still talking about a valid every day right fielder.
Swisher's on base percentage the last three years: .371, .359, .374. Swisher's slugging the last three years: .498, .511, .449. He walked 95 times this season. His wOBA and wRC+ have remained consistent. And this writer loves that he is a switch hitter than can hit (without complaint, mind you) anywhere in the Yankee line up.
This Twitter bud called Swisher a J.D. Drew with personality. A great line, no? But even if it is accurate, this writer would take the 31 year old Drew who compiled a 4.4 fWAR. The difference now, of course, is that Drew will be 37 years old in 2012. Swisher is six years younger.
And that personality makes him the perfect New York player. The fans love the guy and from all accounts, he's a good clubhouse guy too. This is a perfectly spot on decision by the Yankees. This writer believes he was hurting pretty badly in the 2011 post season. Sure, he didn't perform and the Yankees didn't make the big show. But let's be real here. The Yankees could still get good value from him in trade, but this writer hopes he stays in New York. It's hard not to root for a guy who is performing over value and does so with a smile at the office every day.