After declining the Yankees qualifying offer, Nick Swisher joins a long list of above-average outfielders looking for obscenely inflated payouts and costing their new team a first-round pick. Swisher reportedly went into the off-season looking for a Jayson Werth-esque $120+ million deal.
The problem is, when Werth signed he was basically the only good outfielder available. Swisher liky isn’t even the best non-Josh Hamilton outfielder this year. Aside from Swisher and Hamilton, the list of serviceable outfielders includes B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn as well as Angel Pagan, Shane Victorino, Cody Ross, and Ryan Ludwick. Recently signed Torii Hunter and Melky Cabrera have already filled demand in Detroit and Toronto, respectively.
Werth compares pretty well to Swisher but as well already know, free agency is less about stats and more about supply and demand. So while Swisher compares well to Werth, he also compares well to a lot of outfielders making way less.
Nick Swisher (2005-2012): 149 G, .256 BA, 26 HR, 83 RBI, 84 R, 12 SB – 2012 Salary: $10.25M
Jayson Werth (2008-2011): 150 G, .267 BA, 27 HR, 77 RBI, 86 R, 18 SB – 2011-2017 Salary: $13-$21M
Josh Willingham (2006-2012): 131 G, .261 BA, 24 HR, 77 RBI, 67 R, 5 SB – 2012-2014 Salary: $7M
Jay Bruce (2008-2012): 134 G, .255 BA, 27 HR, 75 RBI, 73 R, 6 SB – 2013-2017 Salary: $7.5M-12.5M
Ryan Ludwick (2008-2012): 138 G, .266 BA, 23 HR, 87 RBI, 68 R – 2012 Salary: $2M, 2011 Salary: 7M
There are three things we can see just from this list. First, in most other seasons Swisher would not command more than he made last season. Second, there are a lot of outfielders that can do what he does that are worth a lot less. Third, the Nats could have spent one-third of what they spent on Jayson Werth to get a comparable outfielder. That having been said, most expect Swisher to land a four-year deal worth between $45 million and $60 million
Mariners: The M’s have been linked to every outfielder from Josh Hamilton to Jason Bay. Seattle needs a powerful outfielder and since they are a longshot to get Hamilton, Swisher could be a nice fallback option.
Orioles: The Orioles seem like the likeliest landing spot for Swisher. They have seen plenty of him, they don’t have a left fielder outside of Nolan Reimold, and they have already been in touch. Just don’t expect them to throw money around if a bidding war breaks out.
Phillies: The Phillies seem like they are set on BJ Upton or Michael Bourn but if things fall apart there they may look Swisher’s way.
Braves: The Braves are more interested in BJ Upton but they have been interested in Swisher going back to last off-season. Atlanta is another team that could use some extra pop in the lineup.
Nationals: The Nats are the third NL East team looking to acquire Upton or Bourn but are less likely to do so than the Phils and Braves. They may lose Adam LaRoche which allows them to move Michael Morse back into the infield or they may move Morse entirely and look to upgrade with Swish.
Red Sox: According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Red Sox have expressed interest and like his versatility so between them and the Os, it is definitely not out of the question that Swish is playing 19 games against the Yankees next season.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.