The MLB rumors are already starting to swirl around Nick Swisher as he readies himself for impending free agency. Rumors are already circulating that Swisher and his agent will be seeking a contract relative to the 7-year, $126 million contract the Washington Nationals handed out to Jayson Werth prior to the 2011 season.
The New York Yankees have expressed an interest in bringing back their right fielder but they are also looking at a $189 million luxury tax limit that could impede their ability to re-sign Swisher. Also needing to be taken into account are the impending free agencies of Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Phil Hughes among others. The Yankees simply can’t afford to pay everyone.
Whether or not Swisher, who will turn 32 this November, will receive a contract similar to Werth’s is another story. Michael Cuddyer, another Swisher comparable, received a 3-year, $31.5 million deal from the Colorado Rockies this past offseason and that might be a more realistic expectation for Swisher.
Swisher and his agent are right to want to get the most money right now. This is likely Swisher’s last big contract of his career and it comes at an inopportune time. Teams are less willing to give huge money contracts to players like Nick Swisher who will likely be in the twilight of his career for the majority of those seven years. Then again, given the dearth of obvious free agent talent this coming offseason and the probable thinning of that market given Melky Cabrera’s positive testosterone test, some team might see Swisher as the missing piece of their puzzle and give him the contract he desires.
The Yankees outfield prospects are all at least a year or two away. Tyler Austin and Mason Williams, their best outfield prospects, are closer to two to three years away. Zoilo Almonte is having a very nice season at AA Trenton but, again, he is at least a year away. Melky Mesa was recently promoted to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Empire State but he hasn’t exactly lived up to the lofty expectations he created for himself two years ago. Slade Heathcott is another one who is at least two or three years away from being able to contribute on the MLB level.
The Yankees could go and re-sign Ichiro Suzuki who has played very well since joining the Yankees and keep him in right field for a year or two with Brett Gardner manning left field and Granderson, whose option is expected to be picked up, in center. That configuration would work for 2013 and GM Brian Cashman can hope one of his prospects would be ready for full-time duty in 2014.
It looks more and more like Nick Swisher’s time in Pinstripes is drawing to a close. Unless he wants to take a shorter, smaller contract he will not be back in the Bronx next year.