Evaluating the Swisher Trade

On Free-Agency Eve, the Yankees traded Jeff Marquez, Wilson Betemit, and Jhonny Nunez to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Nick Swisher.

Personally, I think it’s a good trade for the Bronx Bombers.  Swisher, a Billy Beane guy mentioned in Moneyball, gets on base, hits for power, and most importantly plugs a hole or two on the Yankee roster.  He can play either Centerfield or First Base, two huge holes for a team looking to avenge its first October at home since 1993.  Swisher had an off-year in 2008, hitting a paltry .219 despite an on-base percentage of .332, but he did hit 24 home runs and drove in 69 runs.  Realistically, the Yanks don’t need him to hit 30 home runs or even hit .300.  In terms of batting average, his career high is a mediocre .262, which he hit in 2007 and for his career, he’s a .244 hitter.  I really like his versatility in the field and the fact that he is a switch-hitter who can give the Yanks options in the lineup.  The thing, too, with Swisher is that he is basically the same hitter in most situations, his batting average does drop as he gets behind in the count, but so does everyone else.  At home, on the road it doesn’t seem to matter to Swisher.

I do like Marquez, but I think realistically he’s a back of the rotation kind of guy, along the same lines as Ian Kennedy.  He did just ok in 80+ innings in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, posting a 4.69 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.  Over his career (minors only), he has nearly a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio, a critical stat, at least to me.  For comparison, Joba Chamberlain’s is 3.4 in the Majors alone.  The thing with Marquez is that he’s unproven and has always had a high ERA.  I’m ok with the Yanks trading him, but what I don’t want to see happen is them start to get back in the habit of dealing their young pitchers for crap.

I’ll miss Betemit’s bat off the bench and his versatility in the field, but you can find a back-up infielder anywhere, albeit maybe not a switch-hitter.  Nunez was traded to the Yanks at the deadline in 2008 for Alberto Gonzalez and he was never going to amount to much anyway.

Overall, good trade for the Yanks and I look forward to watching Swisher play – and he better get that razor out.

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