Blue Jays Trade Target: Could Nick Swisher Be an Option?
It’s been very quiet in Blue Jays land lately. It’s like the line out of the Night Before Christmas, “Not a rumor was stirring, not even a crazy one.” Well, if you’re starving for some Blue Jays rumors to get your blood pumping, or ire running, here’s one: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is suggesting that the Blue Jays (among others) could be a trade partner for the Cleveland Indians.
Who would the tribe look to send to Toronto according to Cafardo? Nick Swisher, of course.
"” The Indians would like to trade him because they acquired Brandon Moss from Oakland. Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore, San Diego, Milwaukee, and the Cubs (who would love to add a veteran leader), could be possible trade partners.”"
Now, the savvy among us would not read too much into this being that it almost seems like the Blue Jays were dropped into this randomly. But, for the sake of it, let’s actually examine this.
Swisher brings versatility in that he can play the outfield, specifically right field, as well as first base. Though, his contributions there are not earth shattering. At first base, he put up a UZR of -5.8 with -4 DRS last season. In the outfield, he put up a UZR of -2.4 and a DRS of -2. Before we start saying he’s a liability on defense, we have to firstly remember that these numbers are better than those of Melky Cabrera, for whom we were all screaming to re-sign.
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As well, Swisher missed 65 games last season and needed arthroscopic surgery on his knees. That likely had an impact on his defense as well as his offense that saw an uncharacteristic turn in 2014. He slashed .208/.321/.386 while hitting just 8 HR and 42 RBI. These numbers are below what we are used to seeing from Swisher.
With a clean bill of health, Swisher could very well be an interesting addition.
Except, the Blue Jays don’t need him. They have this guy by the name of Edwin Encarnacion who will play first base while Dioner Navarro sees the primary DH time. If (read “when”) Navarro is traded, the Blue Jays have just come to terms with Justin Smoak who is likely to step in as the everyday first baseman.
Smoak provides better defense than Swisher at a fraction of the cost. The lineup has been revamped so that there is no dire need for a power hitter. There is simply no need. The Blue Jays would be paying way more for something they don’t really need.
And this is the real issue with the idea of Nick Swisher heading to the Blue Jays. Cost. Swisher is set to earn $15M in each of the next 2 seasons with a $14M vesting option for 2017 that depends on at bats and health. With obvious needs elsewhere and not much in the way of an open checkbook, it is difficult to see this happening. Yes, Swisher is probably the type of “clubhouse” guy alex Anthopoulos is looking for. But, he’s on the wrong side of 34 and coming off knee issues.
The Blue Jays would need Cleveland to eat a lot of Swisher’s salary before they even entertain this idea. But, why would they even enter the conversation? They have greater need in the bullpen and at second base and only enough capital (human or financial) to go around.
So, in a time when Blue Jays fans are looking for something, anything to whet their appetite for news, this little tidbit may not cut it.