Not Looking At A Small Sample Size


Today was the day where manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman faced the media to discuss what the Yankees will look to do going forward in the winter months. One of the more interesting comments I took from Cashman today came when he talked about how he has evaluated players in recent years.

He talked about how the postseason is a small sample size and should not be used in evaluating talent. This occurs even when guys have positive postseasons when Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui were not brought back after their great postseasons in 2009. This year, the talk is around the middle of the Yankees’ order. They have two players they can’t get rid of, but one guy they can.

 “I don’t make decisions on postseason samples because no one’s going to have a large enough postseason sample to be meaningful,” he said. “Just because somebody has an exceptional series doesn’t all of a sudden change the evaluation of the player.”

Yes, I am talking about getting rid of right fielder Nick Swisher. The Bombers have a $10.25 million option on his contract and the Yankees have had three years to evaluate his postseason performances. In three seasons with the Yankees, Swisher is hitting a dismal .165 average with five home runs and six runs batted in. Also, he has the worst average with runners in scoring position in the history of postseason baseball.

Swisher is a guy who does consistently put up 20+ home runs and 30+ doubles in the regular season, but in the Bronx, a player is judged by his postseason performances and Nick has underachieved. He is a fun guy in the clubhouse, but how much is it worth to keep a guy who can tell jokes but cannot hit in the clutch?

A guy I would like the Yankees to consider bringing in is Twins’ right fielder Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer had some injuries during the season, but still hit .284 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI’s, and 29 doubles in a pitcher’s ballpark. Over the course of his career, he is a .338 hitter in the postseason with two home runs and eight RBI’s. The Yankees have relied on their superstars in the past, but maybe a stopgap role player is best for this team until Josh Hamilton and Matt Kemp are free agents after the 2012 season.