Sunday, December 16, 2012
Hot Stove talk: Nick Swisher
By Richard Durrett
A lot has happened so far this offseason, but the hot stove is still burning. We're going to take a look at some players still on the market that could make sense for the Texas Rangers.
Today's player: Nick Swisher
With Josh Hamilton now a Los Angeles Angel, Swisher could certainly fit with the Rangers. The 32-year-old can play a corner outfield spot and first base, giving the Rangers some options in both areas.
No, Swisher can't equal Hamilton's production. But there are no players available that could do that on their own. Swisher hit .272 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs in 148 games for the New York Yankees last season. He had 141 strikeouts and 71 walks and an .837 OPS.
He would give the Rangers a switch-hitter and, for a right-handed-heavy lineup, that would be a good thing. He has played in at least 148 games each of his last seven seasons (three with Oakland, one with the White Sox and the last four with New York), so he has a track record of staying healthy. He started 27 games at first base in 2012 (259 innings) and made 107 starts in right field. He had six errors last year (three at each position). By the way, Swisher's only disabled list appearance came in 2005 (separated shoulder).
Swisher would give manager Ron Washington the option of playing him at first base against left-handed pitchers (possibly platooning with Mitch Moreland, a left-handed hitter). But if Ian Kinsler ends up at first base, Swisher could also see time in the outfield or at DH.
Swisher hit .284 (23-for-81) with three homers and 14 RBIs against the non-Texas AL West teams in 2012. He didn't face the Houston Astros, who join the division next year.
I like the idea of adding Swisher. It would alter how the club utilizes a few players, namely Moreland and the outfield depth, but Swisher is versatile enough that Washington could figure out how best to use him.
Do you want Swisher? How do you think he'd fit in?