YGY Roundtable: Granderson, Swisher, or Outside Help?
By Jimmy Kraft
It’s been a hot topic all season long, and one that we’ve covered here at YGY pretty regularly. The Yankees will need to make a decision on Nick Swisher this offseason, and with the contract he’s likely demanding (4-5 years around $13-$15M per season), he’s likely bidding himself out of New York. This has a trickle down effect because after the 2013 season, Curtis Granderson will hit free agency. Two-thirds of the Yankees starting outfield will be hitting the market by 2013, both will be in or entering their mid-thirties by that time, and both will likely experience declining numbers in their future. So, with that in mind, let’s turn it over to our writers and see if they would rather have Granderson, Swisher, or look for outside help.
In all honesty, I’d love to keep Swish, but with the money he’s demanding, I’m not so sure he’s going to be in pinstripes beyond 2012. Granderson is essentially just a player who either hits for extra bases or strikes out (aka Adam Dunn). I think realistically, keeping Granderson is going to happen over Swisher, and at that point, you have a little extra to spend. Even then, it depends on how long they sign Grandy. Maybe the Yanks resign Ichiro or Steve Pearce, but I think Swish is gone regardless. Unless he starts putting up Josh Hamilton numbers, the money he’s asking for is insane and should by no means be matched by Brian Cashman. Potentially, I think next year’s starting outfield is Brett Gardner, Granderson and Ichiro, but that’s just me.
The Yankees should not sign Nick Swisher next year, and they should not extend or sign Curtis Granderson to play after next year. Nick Swisher, while solid and charismatic, will almost surely get paid more than he is worth based on his asking price (more on this here), and as a right fielder, he is easily replaceable by cheaper guys that the Yankees can acquire through trades or free agency (see Ichiro, Ibanez, Jones). Granderson, similarly, will cost the Yankees a fortune to keep around. If he was an average defensive center fielder, he might be worth the price, but his defense is clearly deteriorating (more on this here) and he’ll probably have to move to a corner outfield spot. Like Swisher, this makes him much more easily replaceable by someone cheap, who might not have the offensive prowess of Granderson, but will leave room in the budget for extending Cano and solidifying the pitching staff.
There are other factors to consider here besides the men in question. Mariano Rivera will be off the books by 2014, if not next season. Rafael Soriano‘s contract is gone following 2013 ($14M due) and Derek Jeter has a player option minimally for $8M with incentives that he is probably going to reach to make it higher. He is not going anywhere. By 2014, the Yankees should first and foremost concentrate on extending Robinson Cano who will probably command $18-20M or more annually over several years. They are already on the hook for $72M-plus with Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia in 2014. So they’re looking at just over $100 million with five players leaving about $80-plus million for the remainder of the roster.
I’d consider keeping Swisher with the caveat of not going higher than three-years/$40 million with a mutual option for a fourth year (a six-year deal for him is ludicrous). I prefer Swisher’s positional versatility, the fact he is a switch-hitter and his ability to get on base with added power versus Granderson’s all power or naught production, especially when factoring in costs. Granderson is going to command more for a longer period of time (mostly due to his age) but he’s not worth whatever it is he’ll get in my opinion.
I would go with Swisher. I know reports were leaked that he wants Jayson Werth money, but nobody will be giving him that kind of dough. I see him getting around $14-$16 million per year. And I think he’s worth that. My reasoning is that Swish is a good defender who gets on base. Granderson is too streaky, he strikes out a lot and he’s not the greatest defender. It’s all or nothing with Grandy.
I know Swisher has had some postseason struggles, but Tino also struggled (and I believe had worse numbers) through the same amount of postseason games. If Swish Dog wants too much money, then I would say look for outside help. However, if they can get for about $15 million per it’s a no-brainer.
Tough call. It’s as simple as that. On one hand you have a solid switch hitter, with good defense in right field who also can play first base. On the other hand, you have a slugger with declining defense in center field. The first problem I see with Granderson is the fact that he’ll demand a contract based on a center field slugger. However, if the Yankees re-sign him after 2013, you have to figure he’d make the move to left field and put Brett Gardner in center field. That solves one problem, but creates another: You’re signing Grandy CF money to be a LF, which is a waste.
Meanwhile, Swisher is pricing himself out of New York. He’s doing a great job of getting hot at the end of the season because it’ll give GMs around the league a lasting impression of his skills. Like Chris said, I like the versatility he brings to the table. Also, like Matt said, it’s easier to fill the corner OF position with a stop-gap type player. I think if push came to shove, I would re-sign Swisher and let Granderson walk, something I probably wouldn’t have said a few months ago. It’s the versatility at the plate and in the field that puts him over Granderson for me.
Well you’ve heard our arguments, now it’s your turn. Who do you think is in the Yankees outfield in the near future? Let us know in the comments below!