After the Yankees acquired Nick Swisher from the White Sox this winter, it was assumed he’d play first base for the Bombers. Then, they opened their wallets to sign Mark Teixeira, and Swisher became a man without a job. The Yankees fielded phone calls for both he and Xavier Nady, but decided that the offers didn’t make sense, and that they’d rather just go into the season with some extra depth.
That looks to have been the right decision. Swisher has been on fire to start the season, leading the majors with a ridiculous .682 wOBA. 9 of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases, as he’s quickly registering 2008 as an aberration rather than some kind of downward trend. With the way he’s swinging the bat, there’s no way the Yankees can keep him out of the line-up.
Now, they don’t have to. Nady left last night’s game with a “sharp pain” in his elbow, which is hardly ever good news. Even if he only requires a short stint on the DL, it’s unlikely that he’ll have a job waiting for him when he gets back. Swisher is the better player anyway, and his remarkable first week performance has endeared him to Yankee fans. Coming out of the bullpen to pitch mop-up duty didn’t hurt his reputation, either.
The old cliche is that the best trades are the ones you don’t make. In Brian Cashman’s case, that’s probably true for this winter – by keeping Swisher around as a nifty insurance policy, he’s allowed the team to not miss a beat despite early injuries to both Teixeira and Nady. There’s no rule against entering the season with 10 guys who deserve a starting job, and the Yankees are certainly benefiting from keeping Swisher around, even without a defined role for him when the year began.
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