When the Yankees announced the acquisition of Nick Swisher from a trade with the Chicago White Sox for Wilson Betemit, I was curious. With the impending loss of Bobby Abreu to free agency, I was looking for any way that the Bombers would bring back the patient hitter. I figured Swisher would play first and Bobby would be brought back to platoon with Damon and Nady. (Photo: Getty Images)
I was excited at the prospect of having baseball’s most patient hitter in 2008 in a lineup with Abreu (another of baseball’s top three most patient hitters) and the Yankee elite. I was stoked on Swish’s almost immaculate defense guarding the right corner bag. I was excited for another switch hitter to be in the every day lineup.
I was, as is now apparent, wrong.
Instead, Brian Cashman ignored my pleas and signed Mark Teixiera for first base, ultimately letting Abreu join our west coast nemesis (The Yankee devils HAVE to hate Angels) for a steal.
No one is going to complain about Tex being on the team. I’m glad he’s here (and not in Boston). He will make Mattingly proud, for sure. His bat and glove will fill both offensive and defensive voids for the next several years.
So now we come back to a dilemma. Forget about Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for a few minutes and look at the contest being fought for Bobby’s Right Field Roost between Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady.
I’m pretty unoriginal when it comes to making strong arguments based on anything but stats, so here are a few factors for Joe Girardi to consider when making his decision for the everyday right fielder position.
THE EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT:
Nady hit 25 HR’s last yea; Swisher hit 24. But in six full seasons, Nady has only hit 87 HRs. In only four full seasons, Swisher has amassed 104 homers.
But in batting average, we see Nady’s .280 career AVG (.303 in ’08) overcome Swisher’s dissapointing .244 (.218 in ’08). Nady also struck out less, had a higher OBP, and pulled in more RBIs. He also had many more hits (but somehow less runs?)
Swisher stole 3 bases last season, Nady stole two. Whoever is going to replace Bobby needs to be able to gank some bags. Bobby stole around 20.
Both have commendable defensive percentages. Swisher has a near immaculate career record of .990 (.975, 5E in OF in ’08) to Nady’s .984 (.985, 4E, in OF in ’08). Bobby Abreu carries a career .984 (.993, 2E OF in ’08).
ADVANTAGE: YANKEES (You can’t go wrong any which way here.)
The White Sox have won a world series this decade. The Pirates, well, they existed this decade. Kind of.
Nady was born in 1978 and is 30. The much younger Nick Swisher was born
in 1980 and is 28. The free agent market dictates that Nick Swisher,
being in his twenties, is automatically better than the 30-something
year old Nady.
Swisher throws left handed and bats as a switch hitter. Nady is right
handed all the way around. Being right handed in right field makes for
an awkward throwing situation.
Nick Swisher has a website. Xavier Nady, does not. Hey Nady, get with the
20th century 21st century.
Two words: Swish’s Wishes. You cannot get much cooler than that.
Nady used a pink bat on mother’s day to promote breast cancer
awareness. Nick Swisher dyed his facial hair. Nady had a weapon that he
can carry over to the Yankees. Swisher had to lose his pink with the
ADVANTAGE: NADY (unless Swisher grows a pink moustache.)
Swisher has only played in the almighty American League (A’s, White Sox). Nady has played almost his entire career in the National League (Padres, Mets, Pirates). Yuck. The National League is gross.
Nady’s agent is Scott Boras. He’s a jerk.
I believe the evidence here is overwhelming. It is time to put Nick Swisher in the corner pocket and let him play every day baseball. Keep Nady around for damage control when/if someone goes down. You never know when Matsui’s knee may implode or Johnny Damon needs to be put in protective custody from his hairdresser, who is obviously trying to kill him.
This is a blog I never wanted to write, but I feel it is important to address. For those of you who may have read my early winter rantings, you know that I made predictions — many of which ended up being wrong.
I hate being wrong.
That being said, I think it is time to address our biggest American League threat, and no, I’m not talking about those bums from Beanville. Let’s take a trip across the country to the pollution capital of the United States, Los Angeles. Because our number one threat in 2009 is those stinkin’ Angels.
I’ll give you three reasons why we need to keep our eyes on these guys not only for this year, but for the next few years.
#1 – The Angels in the Outfield.
Sorry for the cliche’, but seriously. What more of an offensive threat to boast in your outfield than Vladimir Guerro, Torii Hunter, and our former Bobby Abreu?
We should be familiar with Bobby’s abilities already, but for those of you just now tuning in we have one of the most patient hitters in baseball. Bobby can make a pitcher throw many times. He isn’t afraid of taking a walk. (73 times in 2008). He knows how to steal (22). He has a career .300 average (.296) and he plays very cautiously, which gives him full season endurance (156 games). Bobby is a very talented player, an offensive force, and will make a great #2 or #3 hitter.
Before coming to the Angels last season, Torii Hunter wasn’t much to worry about. The Minnesota Twins were never a real threat to anyone. They had their streaks, mostly built on the back of Hunter’s bat. (I’m editorializing pretty hard here, I know.) But put a potent hitter on this Angels team and you have a reason to swallow the lump in your throat. In 146 games, he collected 551 AB and 153 H, giving him a hearty .278 BA. All total, he carried 60 extra base hits, 21 of which got him around the bases. Oh, and there’s the whole 1.000 FPCT.
I can’t even say his name with conjuring up images of burning villages, but this dangerous trio is led by 32 year old Vladimir Guerrero. The 12-year veteran is like Yogi Berra — he’ll swing at, and typical hammer off, anything. He is difficult to pitch to. I recall a scene where a pitcher attempted to walk him, so Vlad stepped across the plate and cranked the ball into the field anyway. He is a career .323 hitter (.303) who brought in less than 100 RBIs off of his 164 H for only the second full season in his career(91).
But these three men do not stand alone as an offensive threat. Chone Figgans and Howie Kendrick. I get chills thinking about these five members of a very potent Angel lineup that has dominated the American League over the span of the past few years. It is no wonder, to me, why the Angels did not persue some of the more costly free agents. They have no need to. Which brings me to my second point.
#2 – They Go Deep
And I’m not talking about just the offensive hitting ability either. Take a look at the Depth Chart. RIDICULOUS. It’s like a circus of talent, competing for every position.
Infield depth has three guys, Izturis, Wood, and Quinlan, with a great deal of talent being availible to back up at every infield base position with a near perfect FPCT and mostly respectable batting averages (.269, .200, .262).
The offensive weakness may come from their catchers, but they have two guys have can handle the backstop with Napoli and Mathis (.273, .194). Napoli is yet another 20+ HR guy, of which the Angels have too many (4).
The outfield has protection for their big three if an unfortunate injury would occur. G. Matthews and Juan Rivera have acceptable BA’s and can fill in as needed and help to platoon either Vlad or Bobby in the corners with the DH role.
I’m not even going to address their pitching. It is sufficient and deep. The Angels are an island unto themselves with their throwing programs. Their farm system has made them almost entirely self sufficient and will be a model many other teams follow for the future.
#3 – 3-7
The Yankees and the Angels played each other ten times. Of those ten times, the Yankees only mustered up three wins. If the Yanks could have pulled those seven losses, the post season would have been written differently. But the fact remains that in that ten game series, the Yankees were outplayed by the Angels. the lineups look different now, so only time will tell how 2009 plays out.
Those are the reasons why I see the Angels as the team to beat for the New York Yankees. The rest of the AL West is still weak, despite a growing strength this year. 2009 will undoubtedly be a great year for baseball.
I, for one, really enjoy reading what the players are doing, in a philanthropic sense, with their big pay checks. For me, it eases my ire that some lucky jerks get to make multi-million dollars each year to play baseball.
I understand the hard work that goes in to making a career out of a sport, but nonetheless, it is nice to see some “paying it forward” going on.
The Yankees take a lot of flak from people across the country for their big pay days, but a good number of current, and former, Yankees are quick to share.
Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixiera both gave back to their alma maters in the forms of cold hard cash.
Teixiera signed a girthy 8-year $180M contract with the Yankees two days before Christmas. This past week, Tex made an appearance in conjunction with a $500K donation to Georgia Tech University.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Teixeira has donated to Georgia
Tech every year since he was the Rangers’ first-round selection in
2001, but the $500,000 pledge marked his largest offering yet.
Rodriguez, on the other hand, dropped a weighty $3.9M donation to Miamu University for their baseball facilities back in 2002, during the time period he admittedly used performance enhancing substances.
Well known as the highest paid baseball player in history, Rodriguez was honored for his contribution by the school at the annual “Dinner on the Diamond” event at the university. The UM facility now bears the name “Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field” and will be home to the Hurricanes baseball team.
A-Rod and Tex aren’t the only cheerful givers. Yankees captain Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation has raised over $8M from its various events to help disadvantaged children in New York, Western Michigan, and Tampa, Florida.
Long time catcher, Jorge Posada, also has charitible work. The Jorge Posada Foundation, named after his son, is an endowment to help families with children diagnosed with Craniosynotosis in affording necessary surgeries, as well as help fund research for hospitals in this particular field. The Posadas have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to various hospitals and individuals to help others in need.
Nick Swisher is another individual with a generous heart now covered in pinstripes. Swish is involved in more organizations than I could count. He spends time hanging out with kids, gives money to medical and educational organizations, supports the troops overseas. and even once dyed his goatee pink for Breast Cancer Awareness on Mother’s Day. Although, he won’t be doing that with the Yankees and their “high and tight” folicle policies.
Bobby Abreu was another frequent contributor through his Abreu’s Amigos and Abreu’s Finest Charity Wines. In 2001, during his stint with the Philadelphia Phillies, Bobby was awarded the Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross Blood Drive. He was honored as the Phillies recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2004.
Another big giver is lead-off hitter Johnny Damon, who in 2008 was the Yankees recipient of the Roberto Clemente award with proceeds going to the Children’s Health Fund. He has also worked with Wounded Warrior Project in bringing relief to wounded veterans. Damon, like his new teammate Nick Swisher, has also donated his long hair (from days with the Red Sox) to charitable causes.
But the Evil Empire needs an Emporer and George M Steinbrenner III is there to lead the charge. The multi-billionaire has donated so much money to various charities and civic programs that Legends Field was renamed Steinbrenner Field by the Town and County Councils. They are also opening a Tampa area school that is named after “The Boss.”
There may be a lot of money floating around the Bronx, but there is a lot of money going even further toward making this world a better place to be.
Information courtesy of:
A-Rod speaks at University of Miami
A-Rod has Teixeira’s Support
Turn 2 Foundation
Jorge Posada Foundation
Damon Yankees’ Clemente Nominee
This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes: There’s Some Good in the World
* found this article after I wrote out everything here. Tons more info in here too. Get away from the steroid crap and read about some heroes!
Mark Newman (http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com) wrote an interesting article about love and hate in the greatest game ever played. I suggest you read it and read my response to it below:
I hate the Boston Red Sox. I hate their fans. I hate the attitudes. I
hated their stupid hair cuts. I hate looking at Kevin Youkalis’ ugly
face. I hate Dustin Pedroia.
I hate Josh Beckett. I have EXTRA hate for
him. Not only is he on the rotten Red Sox, but he helped to steal the
2003 World Series from my beloved Yankees. The only thing he did right
was go to the Sox — so I can hate him even more.
I don’t care how
clutch the Sox are. I don’t care how extremely talented they are.
They’re ugly. They’re stupid. I hate them.
I hate that Yankee games broadcast on ESPN are blacked out due to YES.
I hate my cable company in Northeastern PA for not carrying YES. I can
watch every Buckos game, I can watch every Phillies game. I can catch
what seems to be every freaking game but home Yankee games not carried
on My9. I hate going to my brother’s house to watch a home game on YES
that isn’t there because it is broadcast on My9. He doesn’t get My9. I
I hate the National League. Pitchers aren’t supposed to bat. I don’t
care how good D-Train was at it or how cool it was to watch him slap
homers over the fence. It’s stupid. Get a DH. Platoon your outfielders.
Quit being in the stone age NLers. It’s like the pansy Western
Conference in Hockey. It’s not brutal enough.
I hate hearing the
whiners and haters whine and hate on the Yankees. Your jealousy is a
I hate when people say “We won” and “They lost” when
referring to their favorite teams. If you aren’t on the team, win or
lose, you aren’t on the team at all.
I hate Josh Beckett. Did I say
that yet? He’s evil. I wish he was a terrible pitcher so I didn’t have to hate him. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, but somehow that makes me hate him even more. The idea of him being charitable makes me angry. I feel like he should be a jerk so that other people would hate him instead of just me.
I hate Sports Illustrated. I hate their post championship commercials where you can have a stupid DVD with your subscription featuring the eventual winner of the World Series, the Superbowl, The Stanley Cup, or Basketball’s unnamed championship. I hate that basketball doesn’t have a cool championship name.
I hate the Giants. I hate their stadium. I hate that home run balls fly into the water. I hate the stupid fans with their stupid canoes waiting for Bonds (when he was there) to crank another one out of the park.
I hate ballparks that are built for home run derbys. I hate ballparks built for pitchers to diminish home runs too. I hate the Green Monster. I hate that the Cathedral wasn’t good enough and some idiot decided to tear down Yankee Stadium. What the deuce?
I hate people who whine about salary caps. Salary caps will fix nothing. While we are being unrealistic with our salary demands on players lets actually look at a system fair to players and owners alike — flat rate salaries based upon years of service with incentive bonuses. Everyone gets a fair shake across the board. I hate salary caps.
I hate 7 game playoff series. Divisional round should be three games. League round should be five games. World Series should be seven games. I hate the Cubs. Scratch that. I hate Chicago baseball teams. I even hate Chicago. What kind of name is “The Windy City” anyway? That’s dumb.
You know what else is dumb? Teams from California. Quit crying, you have sunshine all year long. Come endure a Pennsylvania winter. Then you can complain to me. We have to bundle up for games in the late fall. You wear shorts.
I hate free agency and the lack of loyalty. Why can’t players come up through the system and fight for a spot on their team? My team is one of the worst offenders too! I hate when players slack off until contract years.
I hate that Don Mattingly isn’t good enough to get in the Hall of Fame. Guys like Mattingly deserve to be there. I hate that Roger Maris had an asterisk for his record just because of the different amounts of games played. I hate the record books.
I hate when small market team owners fail to put more resources into their teams. It’s not my fault The Boss made his money in the shipping industry and his Yankees are a side project that he loves. I wish Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, etc were given that amount of love from their owners. Let Mark Cuban buy one of these teams. He’ll dump resources into it, even if he goes broke doing it.
I hate reading about steroids. I want to read about baseball. I want to read about spring training. I want to read about prospects snaking their way up through the ranks. I hate only hearing rumors and accusations.
I hate that A-Rod doesn’t even know what he tested positive for. I hate that Selena Roberts is being given so much credibility when her magical sources are still unnamed. I hate that everyone jumped on the ‘A-Roid’ bandwagon without even an ounce of credible evidence. I hate that he was guilty before he even had a chance to defend himself. I hate the idea of records being erased. I hate the discussion about suspensions for anonymous drug tests that where the basis of baseball recognizing it had a drug problem and coming clean through it. I hate witch hunts. I hate irresponsible journalism. I hate when people break big news just weeks before they are to release a book about the target of their hear-say.
I hate when people leave comments on MLB.com’s news pages thinking that they are on the team website only. Hey morons, those news articles run on feeds that are displayed on relevant team pages as well as the MLB website. My comments about how evil Josh Beckett is and how stupid the Nation is aren’t posted only the Red Sox site — they are posted on all of the MLB. I can access your stories from the Yankee’s page.
Do you know what else I hate? I hate how almost every blog I wrote with
off season predictions ended up being wrong. My expectations,
apparently, were too low. I hate being wrong. I hate typos too. I hate Josh Beckett and
being wrong and making typos. I also hate Bobby Abreu no longer being in Pinstripes. Mostly, I hate Josh Beckett.
But I love baseball. These are the best months of the year. I love this
hate. It’s a healthy hate. It makes the love that much sweeter. Thank
you for reminding me to hate. I feel good getting this hate out from off my chest.
Screw Christmas. Baseball season is the most wonderful time of the year.
Major League Baseball.
I live for this.