Could a reunion be happening in the Bronx for the 2016 season? It may be a long shot, but the New York Yankees should look at bringing back Nick Swisher as the backup first baseman.
The Yankees need a backup for Mark Teixeira, who hasn’t been fully healthy since 2011, and Swisher was just released by the Atlanta Braves. He will be paid $15 million by the Braves, which means the Yankees could sign him for relatively cheap.
Swisher was brought over before the 2009 season to be the everyday first baseman, but general manager Brian Cashman signed Teixeira instead. He started out as a bench player, but took over in right field as Xavier Nady suffered an injury.
Swisher ended up permanently in right field and stole the hearts of Yankee fans. The goofball slugger hit 29 home runs, drove in 82 runs with a .249 average in 2009. He followed that championship season with another 29 home runs, 89 RBIs and a .288 average. The Yankees cashed in after Swisher’s rough season with the Chicago White Sox.
The final two seasons in New York were almost as good with 23 home runs in 2011 and 24 home runs in 2012 and at least 85 RBIs in both seasons. But, his strikeouts rose and his average fell, which made the decision of letting him walk easier.
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Unfortunately for both sides, Swisher bolted for Cleveland where he accepted a four-year, $56 million deal in 2013. He had a decent first season where hit 22 home runs, but has hit just 14 ever since. The Yankees missed the postseason that year for the first time since 2008.
Swisher has only played in 173 games over the past two seasons, which have been two of his worst. He missed the end of the 2014 season and began the 2015 season on the disabled list due to surgery on both of his knees. In August of last season he was sent to the Atlanta Braves, where he batted just .195 over 46 games.
Fortunately the Yankees don’t need a crazy amount of production out of him, as he would simply play behind Teixeira. In a perfect world, he would only play up to 20 games at the position and get some time in the outfield, at designated hitter and as a pinch hitter. Even if Teixeira missed some time, around 40-50 games, Swisher is a better option than Chris Parmelee. Parmelee is just batting .156 this spring, and will most likely make the team without any competition.
Greg Bird would have been an option, but he will miss the 2016 season after having shoulder surgery.
Plus, Swisher is a fun guy to watch, even if he isn’t what he used to be. He knows how to win, and would bring some smiles into the clubhouse. Swisher to the Yankees has already worked once, why not try again?