Some Amount of Words on Nick Swisher
(Yes, I’m beating this number of words headline thing into the ground. This giant amusement park does not exactly create an environment of creativity.)
Probably the biggest thing that has happened for the Mariners today happened in Boston. Well, it happened in Nashville, but it happened with Boston at least. The Red Sox gave Shane Victorino a three year, $38 million deal to take over as their new right fielder, and have now tossed a combined $77 million at Victorino and Mike Napoli. Let’s all send Ben Cherington a box of chocolates for his off-season shopping list, and wish him luck rebuilding by stocking up on older declining players.
The main Mariner-related fallout from Victorino going to Boston is that Nick Swisher will almost certainly not be going to Boston now. The Red Sox just filled their right field position, and Napoli is likely going to get enough time at first base that it would be tough for them to fit Swisher into that mix and give everyone enough playing time to make it all work. So, you can probably scratch Boston off the list of potential landing spots for Nick Swisher.
And, if you start looking around, it’s not so easy to find teams that are looking all that interested in making a large bid for Swisher. The Yankees are only offering one year contracts. The Tigers already signed Torii Hunter. The Braves signed B.J. Upton, and are looking more for a leadoff hitter in left field than another middle-of-the-order guy. The Rangers might keep Josh Hamilton, and even if they don’t, it sounds like the backup plan might include shifting Ian Kinsler to make room for Jurickson Profar, with a move to the outfield being a logical possibility. The Dodgers outfield is full.
You can go through pretty much any list of teams that were hunting for corner outfielders before the off-season started and cross off a good chunk of them, as they’ve already either made their move or have expressed a desire to look for lower cost alternatives. So, if Swisher is looking for a significant payday, it’s looking like Seattle might be his best chance to get it.
Which, of course, gives the M’s some pretty decent leverage. If they’re not having to outbid the Yankees or another high-revenue club, then the price is not going to be anywhere near the 7/100 pricetag I floated in my off-season plan. It might not even get anywhere near the 5/85 price that Andre Ethier got from the Dodgers over the summer. And so, if things continue to break the way they’re going right now, Swisher could end up being one of the bargains of the winter, signing for a four or five year deal at an AAV not too different from what Hunter and Victorino got. Without another team in the bidding to really push the Mariners, 4/60 or 5/75 may very well be enough to get Swisher signed.
So, while I know that there’s some frustration that the winter meetings are more than halfway over and the Mariners haven’t done anything, things are actually breaking the Mariners way right now. Once Hamilton goes off the board, it may become quite clear that Swisher’s only chance for a big payday is to take what the Mariners will give him, even if his actress-wife might not love the idea of living in Seattle.
Now, of course, none of this is set in stone. It’s entirely possible that the Orioles are just faking everyone out with their “we won’t spend big” this winter claims, and are looking at Swisher to upgrade their own outfield situation. Maybe the Indians are going to sign Swisher to play right field after they trade Shin-Soo Choo. Don’t go printing up your Swisher jerseys for the Mariners just yet.
But it’s more likely that he signs with the Mariners now than it was this morning. The Red Sox exiting the bidding is a pretty big deal, and by waiting out the market, the team might get a pretty good deal on the best outfielder on the market this winter.