Seems like the Yankees might be willing to move either Nady or Swisher. But do the Reds have anything that the Yankees would want? IMO, I think Nady might be a better fit for this season even if he is only a one year rental.
Yankees Hearing Offers for Swisher and Nady
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LinkedinDiggFacebookMixxYahoo! BuzzPermalinkBy TYLER KEPNER
Published: January 16, 2009
On his official Web site, Nick Swisher is depicted in a Yankees uniform, staring out at a pitcher as he wags his bat over his head. The photo has obviously been altered — Swisher has a beard, for one thing — and the scene it depicts may never come to pass.
The Yankees acquired first baseman Nick Swisher from the White Sox in November, before they had a deal with Mark Teixeira.
General Manager Brian Cashman is spending much of his time fielding calls from teams interested in Swisher or Xavier Nady. One or the other became expendable when the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira to an eight-year, $180 million contract last week.
With Teixeira entrenched at first base, Swisher became an ex-Yankee first baseman before he ever took the field in pinstripes. But Swisher can also play right field, where Nady has been expected to take over for Bobby Abreu.
Because of the obvious surplus, many teams — the Cincinnati Reds, the San Francisco Giants, the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals, among others — have been linked to one player or the other. Cashman almost never reveals specifics of trade talks, but he said most reports of interested teams have been accurate.
Cashman has a commodity to deal, and he is taking time exploring his options. There seems to be no rush to make a move.
“It depends on the trade talk,” Cashman said. “If we feel there’s a benefit, we’ll make a move. That’s basically it. We’re in a position where we don’t have to make a move, so that’s a strong position to be in. We could have them all year. We’re not going to do anything unless there’s a reason to do it.”
Swisher came from the Chicago White Sox in a November trade. Nady was Cashman’s major acquisition last July, in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both can play either corner outfield position but, like Johnny Damon, are not under consideration to start in center.
Damon is entering the final season of his contract, and the Yankees believe he is invaluable as a leadoff man. Damon is not being shopped, and the Yankees have no plans to trade designated hitter Hideki Matsui, who is coming off knee surgery and has a full no-trade clause.
That leaves Swisher and Nady, and Cashman said there was no preference for trading one over the other; it would depend on what a team offers in return. For several reasons, though, it seems more prudent to hold on to Swisher and dangle Nady.
Swisher, a 28-year-old switch-hitter, is two years younger than Nady and is signed for three more seasons at roughly $21 million. Nady, 30, is a right-handed hitter who is eligible for free agency after the season. He is represented by Scott Boras, who rarely agrees to a long-term deal before a player explores the open market.
Nady had a better season than Swisher last year, batting .305 with 25 home runs and 97 runs batted in — all career highs. Swisher had the worst of his five seasons, hitting just .219 with 24 homers and 69 R.B.I. But Swisher’s on-base percentage, .332, was actually better than Nady’s .320 figure over two months with the Yankees.
In that way, Swisher profiles better as the kind of player the Yankees seek for their lineup. He saw an average of 4.53 pitches per plate appearance last season, leading the major leagues in that category. Nady averaged 3.65 pitches per plate appearance. Among Yankees, only Robinson Canó (3.35 pitches) was worse.
Trading Swisher or Nady — who is eligible for salary arbitration after earning $3.35 million last season — would reduce the payroll, which stands at just under $200 million. But while Cashman said that would be a benefit of a deal, it would not be a reason to do it. Either way, he said, the Yankees will come in below last year’s $209 million payroll.
The Yankees have questions in center field and the fifth spot in the rotation, but Cashman said he was more worried about the recovery of catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera. Those are players whose production could not be easily replaced by a trade.
“Our catcher and closer are coming off shoulder surgeries,” Cashman said. “That’s what concerns me, and that’s what people should be focused on. Everything is coming along fine, but nobody usually has hiccups this early. Posada’s just throwing at 90 feet on flat ground and Mo’s not even throwing yet.”
Posada will not be able to catch by the exhibition opener Feb. 25, Cashman said, but he is on track to be ready for the regular-season opener April 6. Rivera does not throw in January even when he is healthy, so his schedule is not alarming. But it is Cashman’s job to fret.
“Mo’s surgery wasn’t as serious as Posada’s,” Cashman said. “But it’s still shoulder surgery.”