Sep 23, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher (33) rounds the bases on his two run home run during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Is Nick Swisher A Legitimate Option For The Red Sox?

Recent rumors have pegged the Red Sox as potential frontrunners to sign former Yankees’ outfielder Nick Swisher. With Swisher likely set to be one of the highest priced free agents on the market, however, is he really worth it? There’s a good chance that Swisher will command a deal worth close to $15 million annually over at least four years. After the mega-trade in August, isn’t this the kind of signing that Cherington and the front office are trying to stay away from?

Don’t get me wrong, Nick Swisher has plenty of value. He is a switch-hitter who can play both right field and first base, both holes in the Red Sox lineup, and batted .272/.364/.473. Also a good clubhouse presence, Swisher would be a nice addition to the team. On a cheap contract, that is. If the Red Sox plan on making a big move, dealing with eight figure contracts, Swisher probably isn’t the route they want to take.

As a switch-hitter who hits better against right-handers, the Green Monster wouldn’t help Swisher out in the same way it would help somebody like Mike Napoli or Ryan Ludwick. He would probably post slightly worse numbers to what he’s averaged in New York the past four seasons. In those four years (aided by the short porch in right field), Swisher averaged a .268/.367/.483 slash line with 26 home runs and 87 RBIs.

Those numbers look pretty good, but remember that Swisher spent those years in his prime. Those were his age 28-31 seasons, and entering his mid-30′s he’s likely to slow down. Expect his average to slip a few points (though his OBP should remain relatively high), and his power numbers to fall a bit. Never a great fielder, he’ll continue to slow with age and will probably have to move to first base full time, limiting his value.

I wouldn’t be too opposed to signing Swisher on a front-loaded contract worth something like $45 million over 4 years. However, he’s probably going to command more money than that, and I’m not sure I’d give it to him. He’d probably post solid numbers over the first few years of the deal, but it’s hard to imagine they’d look all that much better than Cody Ross. If the Red Sox are looking to make a big move this offseason, they could sign Cody Ross to play right field and Lance Berkman to play first base for considerably less than it would take to sign Swisher. I’d much rather them take the latter route, which would give them similar value to Swisher would for much less money.


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Tags: Boston Red Sox Nick Swisher

  • David Hurm Jr

    Please, don’t sign this guy for what he wants. Too much for Too long. I would rather suffer with the kids learning on the job than overpay for a free agent again.

    • John Fahrer

      He’s probably worth a JD Drew annual salary. Could be worth it if it isn’t five years guaranteed. Maybe three with an option for a fourth.

  • John Fahrer

    Three years, $45 million with a vesting option for a fourth year’s a fair offer. His career numbers at Fenway are pretty good, recently a 1.329 OPS at Fenway in 2012 with 3 of his 5 homers against the Sox happening there. With his versatility, he could handle first for a couple seasons, then shift to DH and occasional spotter at 1B/LF/RF after Ortiz retires.

    Chances are they sign one big name FA and I personally don’t include Napoli in the “big name” category. I’d like to have Napoli on board but more so as a catcher (and trade Salty and Lavarnway for upgrades at other positions) than as a first baseman.

  • George Goldman

    Signing Berkman for 1 year 8-10 million and trading Alex Gordon makes more sense to me. Only 28 and already locked up through 2016 with about 10 million due each year. Royals get Lester/Sweeney or Salty

    • John Fahrer

      Royals seem more inclined to trade prospect Wil Myers rather than Gordon. Wouldn’t mind trading Lester and Brentz to KC for Myers and Odorizzi. Then sign Napoli to catch, trade Saltalamacchia for Floyd, trade Lavarnway in a package for Morneau, and signing Hamilton for three years.