Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Matchup: Ichiro vs. Swisher
By Andrew Marchand
To me, this is not much of a choice. Ichiro Suzuki may have the better resume, the future Hall of Fame credentials, but Nick Swisher is clearly the superior player right now. That is why Swisher will make much more money than Ichiro when Swisher finally signs.
However, a surprising number of people (more than one) have tweeted at me that they'd rather have Ichiro for '13 instead of Swisher. Be careful what you (s)wish for.
For all of Swisher's shenanigans, his silly playoff complaints and his lack of October hits, he was a pretty good Yankee. Swisher's OPS was .822 or higher in each of his four years. His on-base was never lower than .359 and as high as .374. That is some nice production that leads to regular season wins.
Ichiro's OPS has been under .700 the past two years (.645 and .696). He is a singles hitter and barely walks. His on-base percentage the past two seasons has been .310 and .307. He is a better defender than Swisher.
Ichiro was great at the end of last season and some say he was primed to play meaningful games. Maybe there is a carryover effect.
His preparation -- stretching from dusk to dawn -- is filled with dedication. How he goes about his work is unique. But at 39, outfielders generally don't get better.
QUESTION: Who would you rather have in right? Swisher or Ichiro?