On Wednesday afternoon, Cleveland Indians‘ switch-hitting star Nick Swisher went 0-for-4 with a run scored in a 2-0 victory against the San Diego Padres in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader at Progressive Field. He is now batting just .176 on the young season.
Swisher, who has now entered his age-33 season, was playing the best baseball of his career during his final three seasons with the New York Yankees from 2010-12. During this time span, Swisher was averaging a .274 batting average with 25 home runs and 89 RBIs per season. This is most likely the type of production that the Indians were hoping to get from Swisher when they first inked him to a four-year contract worth $56 million in December of 2012.
Last season, Swisher battled shoulder issues and saw his batting average fall to .246. However, he still managed to hit 22 home runs and drive in 63 runs. Swisher’s lower RBI total can probably in part be explained by the fact that he often batted second, and the fact that he went through a very rough month of June when he hit just .160 is a part of the reason his overall batting average took a dive. Although the Indians were almost certainly hoping to get a bit more out of Swisher last season, 2013 was still a pretty decent year for him nevertheless. He really started coming up big for his new team towards the end of last season as well.
Heading into 2014, though, the Indians were most likely hoping to see more of the Swisher of 2012 as opposed to the Swisher of 2013 on the field this season.
In Spring Training of 2014, Swisher had a rock solid slash line of .296/.406/.500 with three home runs and five RBIs through 54 at-bats which the Indians undoubtedly took as a good sign, even though, as history has shown, sometimes players who have had strong spring campaigns begin to struggle once the calender has turned to April. Right now, this is beginning to look like another one of those cases.
That being said, however, it is still far too early for the Indians to start worrying about Swisher. He is a veteran with a proven track record, and he is still off to a better start than his teammate Asdrubal Cabrera. Every team wishes that they had an energetic leader like Swisher on their squad. Sooner or later, this guy is bound to turn it around.