Thursday, January 8, 2009

Odd Man Out: Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady?

Now that the Yankees have signed first baseman Mark Teixeira, who will undoubtedly play first base for the bulk of his eight year contract, the Yankees have a glut of outfielders:

Nick Swisher
Xavier Nady
Johnny Damon
Hideki Matsui
Melky Cabrera
Brett Gardner

You can argue that a likely scenario will involve Damon in left, Matsui DHing and a platoon of Melky/Gardner in center, and then a Swisher/Nady tandem in right.

However, rumor on the street is that the Yankees may look to move one of Swisher or Nady, so the question is, who should go?

The Case for Keeping Xavier Nady

Nady is a true outfielder. As we saw last season, he can play left and right field adequately. He is cost-controlled for another year, meaning that if the Yankees keep him, he will not be a financial drain. His career BA is higher than Swisher.

The Case for Trading Xavier Nady

The Yankees are never one to worry about a financial drain, so that Nady is cost-controlled isn't a great argument for keeping him. More importantly, last year was a career year for Nady, meaning that unless he's simply a late bloomer, his future stats will probably be more in line with his previous seasons. For comparison, last year he hit .305 and his career average is .280. If the Yankees are looking for someone to help protect Alex (and there's a case to be made that they are), Nady is not necessarily the best bet.

The Case for Keeping Nick Swisher

Swisher underperformed last year, which means that his numbers will likely improve this year. You don't generally trade for a guy with Swisher's contract just to sit him on the bench, but in this case, he would make quite a commodity coming off the bench. By many accounts, he's a great clubhouse presence, and he simply may have been a poor fit for Ozzie Guillen's White Sox.

The Case for Trading Nick Swisher

Underperforming is a mild way of putting it-Swisher hit .219 last year, and his career average is almost forty points lower than Nady's! Good clubhouse personalities don't win you games (well, from a SABR point of view, anyway) and Swisher, now blocked at 1B, is not a natural central fielder.

This is, of course, a very basic outline or the pros and cons to trading each one of them.

The truth is, for the right deal the Yankees could easily trade either, or both--heck, if Mark Shapiro comes on the line and offers Matt LaPorta, Nady and Swisher will look that much more tradeable...

As for myself, I see more possibilities with Swisher, if he can stay healthy and the Yankee culture is a better fit for him, but I'd be okay with the Yankees retaining both.


  1. Nice analysis. I'd rather see Nady stay. Like you said he's a true outfielder. Swisher's basically a utility player. As far as protecting Alex, that should be Teixeira's job, IMO. I don't think they should trade both. Gardner is still unproven and Melky's problems may or may not be behind him so, at least one of them should be retained for those two reasons. :)

  2. I will bet money Melky is traded or starts in Scranton. Gardner will win the job outright in spring training. Matsui will DH and swisher will be your forth outfielder/back up first baseman.

  3. Swisher is a better outfielder than Nady. He also draws a lot more walks, and has better power numbers over his career. I'd sooner trade Nady. I don't want to rush him out the door but, if the right deal came along, I'd trade him instead of Swisher. I don't like Swisher's low average, but he's due to bounce back, especially in the Yanks' lineup.

  4. Jason: The common consensus seems to be to trade Nady over Swisher.

  5. I would trade Nady as well. There was an article about this very subject at Dugout Central on Sunday. Swisher does take his walks and hits for power and can't possibly be any worse.

    The Yanks should sell high.