Though the Yankees will likely offer him salary arbitration, Nick Swisher almost certainly will end up a free agent this winter, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
In 107 games for the Yankees this season, the switch-hitting Swisher, 31, is batting .269 with a .351 OBP, 18 home runs, 28 doubles and 69 RBI, while playing mostly right field, some first base and DH.
He hit .260 with 23 home runs last season.
Patrick FloodAs much as it makes my soul melt to imagine Swisher in a Mets uniform, I think he’d be a solid two- or three-year investment. I understand the worry that Swisher’s power numbers are inflated by Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field, and he’d collapse as a left-handed hitter without it. But he’s had an OPS+ between 119 and 129 six of the last seven years playing with the Yankees, White Sox and A’s. That’s pretty much what he does offensively every year, whatever team and wherever the walls are. Swisher hit about as well in Oakland, a terrible park for hitters, and he did in Yankee Stadium — .825 OPS with Oakland, .850 OPS with New York. My guess is that if you stuck Swisher in Citi Field for a season, he’s put up an .820-.840 OPS with 20 home runs. Swisher’s not a great player, but he’s a good right fielder, a switch-hitter who can hit from both sides of the plate, and draws a ton of walks (he’s drawn over 95 walks in four seasons). Those three skills play in any park. Even if his home run totals drop from 25-30 down to 18-20 in Citi Field, he’d still be way better than any outfielder the Mets have right now. Four years might be too long for a soon-to-be-32-year-old outfielder, but *shudder* Swisher fits the Mets’ needs well for the next few seasons.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead WriterThe Mets outfield is a mess, with very little hope in sight, so all options should be considered. The Nationals and Braves will be looking to acquire an outfielder this winter, as well, meaning more or less every team in the division will likely be connected to Swisher, as well as free-agents Michael Bourn and BJ Upton, among others.
I know the Mets are all about developing from within, building a foundation, etc., and I’m all for it. I get it. But, the future of the outfield is not in the current farm system. I just don’t see Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker joining forces to be a full-fledged, big-league outfield. Maybe one pans out, maybe one other is good for the bench, but the chances of all three rising up to dominate is very, very small. I’d like to think some sort of deal could eventually be made to acquire a young, promising outfielder from another team, but so many of that type player is being locked up long term (like Carlos Quentin) before being traded or set loose as a free agent. So, the answer needs to be some combination of free agency, a trade, a prospect and a lot of luck.
In the meantime, assuming they can or want to spend it, I wonder if the Mets should consider acquiring a guy like Swisher, who seems to love New York City. I dislike him to a white-hot degree, but that’s mostly because he mocks his opponents and he’s on the Yankees. I’m pretty sure I’d love his antics if he played on my favorite team, and I don’t deny he does some terrific work in the community and around the game. He’s not great at the plate or in the field, and he’ll probably be overpaid, but he’s better than any option the Mets have right now and so it might be worth looking in to. For starters, it would show fans and media they’re willing to spend and improve when needed and all other options are exhausted. Plus, it buys them time to figure out more affordable solutions for just two other outfield positions not three). He’s likely seek a four- or five-year deal, some place around $15 million a season, but at his age I am not sure he’ll get it. Instead, I bet he ends up signing something closer to three or four years and around $12 million, while competing on the open market with Upton and Bourn.
To read more about Swisher’s situation with the Yankees, and possible free agency, check out Sherman’s article for the Post.