Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Where Does Swisher Fit Now?

Earlier this offseason, the Yankees acquired Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox for Wilson Betemit and minor leaguers Jhonny Nunez and Jeff Marquez. Marquez, at the very least, was a good talent with high upside. Some reports said that the Yankees thought Marquez was overrated, however. Brian Cashman insisted that Swisher was going to be the Yankees first baseman this year, and some people claimed that the Bombers even saw him as a "Scott Brosius type." But where does Nick Swisher fit now that the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira?

Let's look at the Yankees potential defensive lineup this season:
C: Jorge Posada (or Jose Molina if Posada's shoulder isn't right)
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Robinson Cano
3B: Alex "Sally Girl" Rodriguez
LF: Johnny Damon
CF: Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson (if he's ready), Nick Swisher?

I'm going to assume, for the sake of sanity, that Nick Swisher will not be pitching. And the Yankees aren't apparently high on Swisher as a center fielder, thanks to wisdom inspired from the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The only sense I can make of this, if Brian Cashman always intended to make a serious run at Big Tex, is expiring contracts. Both X-Man and Johnny Damon will be free agents after next season. Swisher will have two years left on his deal after this upcoming season. Hopefully the Yanks will extend Nady, and it's hard to believe that they won't be set in center with Austin Jackson after 2009. So Swisher may ultimately be the Yankees left fielder following this year, when he'll serve as injury insurance. Unfortunately, Swisher showed that he can be vocal when he is unhappy with his role last season with the White Sox. So this could be a recipe for disaster: will the Yankees trade him before the season? It seems to me he was acquired the same way Wilson Betemit himself was: as an insurance policy that became obsolete all too quickly to get a real chance to thrive.

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