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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nick Swisher leaves Yankees for Indians, inking four-year, $56 million deal

Swishalicit!

Swisher agreed to terms on a four-year, $56 million contract with the Indians late Saturday night, the Daily News has learned. The deal includes an easily-attainable $14 million vesting option for a fifth year based on plate appearances that could bring the total value of the contract to $70 million through the 2017 season.

The 32-year-old outfielder had received interest from no less than a half-dozen teams, but the Indians made the strongest push for Swisher’s services. The Rangers, Mariners, Red Sox and Orioles were among the other teams that had expressed interest in Swisher.

Swisher’s $56 million deal is the fifth-largest contract signed this winter, the third-biggest for a position player. Josh Hamilton, 31, inked a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels while 28-year-old B.J. Upton signed a five-year, $75 million pact with the Braves.

Repoz Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: indians, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Lassus Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4331403)
Maybe he'll grow his hair out again.


That seems a little shallow. I assume everyone thinks this is an overpay?
   2. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4331404)
What's the Yanks' payroll going to be going into this season?
   3. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4331407)
In answer to the first question that comes to mind, Swisher is 20 months older than Grady Sizemore.
   4. Greg K Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4331412)
What's the Yanks' payroll going to be going into this season?

B-Ref estimate (including estimated arbitration awards) is currently 200.3m.
   5. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4331413)
Re: overpay

The original story I saw didn't have the vesting option, and I figured that 4/$56 is the realistic floor of what he was going to get. The option may tip my scales, but I see no other modifier than "easily attainable based on plate appearances".

What does that mean, exactly? That he needs a certain number in Year Four? Or that he needs a certain number over the life of the contract?
   6. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4331414)
I've read that it's a certain amount of at-bats in Year Four.
   7. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4331415)
If that's the case, I think this is an overpay, but I think pretty much all FA contracts are that way. Cleveland probably won't regret this one.
   8. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4331417)
Should they make the postseason, WATCH OUT! He needs to have a stunningly great series or two in order to get his lifetime postseason numbers better than horrid.
   9. escabeche Posted: December 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4331419)
I think I'm glad the Orioles didn't make this offer -- should I be?
   10. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: December 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4331436)
Good on the Indians, I guess. I kind of wanted the Nats to look at Swisher to replace Laroche- they could use the OBP
   11. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4331448)
I assume everyone thinks this is an overpay?


He got less money per year than Ethier, so I don't think it's an overpay.
   12. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4331460)
Huge overpay, as Yankee fans tell methey signed a much better outfielder in Ichiro, for much less.
   13. tshipman Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4331464)
So this is 14 million a year, right?

If we go off the 5.5 Mil/War tool, it seems like an underpay, if anything. He's getting paid as if he's a 2.5 win player. His weighted average is something like 3 wins. It's also a pretty short deal.

I'm really surprised at the lack of crazy deals. Greinke is the only really batshit nuts contract so far. Given the huge amount of new revenue and the similarity of a lot of contracts (a lot of guys in the 13mm per year range), it seems to start to point to collusion.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4331465)
If we go off the 5.5 Mil/War tool


Should we though?
   15. JRVJ Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4331466)
I figure that Yankee fans right now (which I sort of am, though right now I am following the Phils a little bit more), feel the same way I felt when Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals (depriving the Phils of a 1st round pick)
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4331472)
Seems like basically a fair contract to me. I expected Swisher to get $75M minimum. I guess guys with good OBPs and unimpressive HR/RBI numbers aren't going to get the big contracts even in boom times.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4331474)
Dumber-than-Marcels, based on the Fangraphs numbers (which like Swisher) and the B-Ref numbers (which don't) see this as a very small overpay.

+ 15 Bat - 2 Run + 21 Rep - 8 Pos + 1 Def = +27 RAR (4 years, $48M)
   18. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4331485)
Viewing the contract itself in a vacuum, it seems fine. But I'm not sure I like this signing for Cleveland. They don't seem to have a plan. I'm not getting into the "Oh, well, Nick Swisher won't be part of the next good Indians team, so it's a bad signing" stuff, but it seems like Cleveland is working at cross purposes. They made the Choo trade--which I liked--but now they're adding Swish. Is the plan to be respectable without really contending? To contend in 2014? 2015?

Admittedly, I don't follow the team that closely, so maybe there's a larger narrative I'm missing, but it just seems like they're kind of floundering. As little as I think of what the Royals are doing, at least they have a clear agenda: contend in 2013. It may be unrealistic, but that's the goal. I couldn't tell you what the Indians plan is.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4331489)
They made the Choo trade--which I liked--but now they're adding Swish. Is the plan to be respectable without really contending? To contend in 2014? 2015?
They got Trevor Bauer for one season of Shin-Soo Choo. Bauer has a shot at outperforming Choo this year, and he's certainly an excellent bet to outperform nothing in 2014 and beyond.
   20. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4331491)
Good on the Indians, I guess. I kind of wanted the Nats to look at Swisher to replace Laroche- they could use the OBP

Was this even considered? I figured the Nats are reluctant to give LaRoche three years because they project that Zimmerman will be playing 1B in '15.
   21. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4331492)
I'm not getting into the "Oh, well, Nick Swisher won't be part of the next good Indians team, so it's a bad signing" stuff,


I guess we end up arguing terms here, but I don't think that any team is so on the wrong side of the success cycle that they can't contend in three years. Nick could be in the middle/latter part of the lineup, taking walks and running counts, in 2016.
   22. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4331496)
So that closes the door on his Yankees career - 4 years, 150,150,150, and 148 games played, OPS+ of 120 or better each year; about $30 million total off the payroll (plus costing the team a backup infielder in original trade). Pretty good value player.
   23. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4331511)
So this is 14 million a year, right?

If we go off the 5.5 Mil/War tool, it seems like an underpay, if anything. He's getting paid as if he's a 2.5 win player. His weighted average is something like 3 wins. It's also a pretty short deal.

I'm really surprised at the lack of crazy deals. Greinke is the only really batshit nuts contract so far. Given the huge amount of new revenue and the similarity of a lot of contracts (a lot of guys in the 13mm per year range), it seems to start to point to collusion.


I don't think the answer is owner collusion as much as it is a change in expected revenue.

I wouldn't go with collusion so quickly. Early on, contracts for relievers were pretty big (League/Dodgers 3/22.5) and it seemed as though this offseason would continue the general trend of price inflation in FA. That's scaled back over the last month or so, and I think the reason is a lack of confidence in the political system.

Anecdotally, prices on FA's go down during a recession (Vlad and Miggy being underpaid in 03 really sticks out in my mind.) If owners believe that we're going off the fiscal cliff and headed for more debt ceiling monkey business, that means a sharp recession and consequently lower revenue totals. Perhaps a lack of confidence in our political system is driving down FA prices?
   24. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4331513)
So that closes the door on his Yankees career - 4 years, 150,150,150, and 148 games played, OPS+ of 120 or better each year; about $30 million total off the payroll (plus costing the team a backup infielder in original trade). Pretty good value player.
That ranks as one of Cashman's best ever deals. Swisher generated 10.1 WAR at about $3.1 million per win. Betemit generated 1.4 WAR at about $2.5 million per win. It's a great, great deal.

I guess we end up arguing terms here, but I don't think that any team is so on the wrong side of the success cycle that they can't contend in three years.
Sorry, I may not have been clear, I agree with this. I'm just not sure I see Cleveland's wider vision, but like I said, I don't pay altogether that much attention to the franchise, so I may be missing something.
   25. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4331516)
Had Swisher hit in the postseason at the rates he established in the regular season, would he be a Yankee in 2013?
   26. Darren Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4331520)
On the Mark Shapiro $9-mil-per-win scale, this is a huge bargain!
   27. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4331525)
I figure that Yankee fans right now (which I sort of am, though right now I am following the Phils a little bit more), feel the same way I felt when Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals (depriving the Phils of a 1st round pick)


But with the new CBA, the Yankees weren't getting a pick from whoever signed Swisher anyway. Compensation is now just a sandwich pick. The pick they get will be one pick lower because the Indians first rounder is protected, but that really isn't such a huge deal.
   28. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4331526)
Was this even considered? I figured the Nats are reluctant to give LaRoche three years because they project that Zimmerman will be playing 1B in '15.


I never heard anyone other than me talk about it, so I doubt it.

and yes, I think that's correct, they want to have that option if Zimmerman's throwing continues to deteriorate and Rendon develops.
   29. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4331528)
Had Swisher hit in the postseason at the rates he established in the regular season, would he be a Yankee in 2013?
I don't think so. The Yankees--for better or worse--seem serious about getting under the $189 million mark in 2014, and Swisher isn't part of that.
   30. bookbook Posted: December 23, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4331554)
Underpay.
   31. JRVJ Posted: December 23, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4331578)
27, upon review, I think you are dead right and I was (obviously) thinking of the former CBA.
   32. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 23, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4331595)
Dumber-than-Marcels, based on the Fangraphs numbers (which like Swisher) and the B-Ref numbers (which don't) see this as a very small overpay.

+ 15 Bat - 2 Run + 21 Rep - 8 Pos + 1 Def = +27 RAR (4 years, $48M)
No downward adjustments as Swisher ages?
   33. bobm Posted: December 23, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4331600)
Had Swisher hit in the postseason at the rates he established in the regular season, would he be a Yankee in 2013?

I don't think so. The Yankees--for better or worse--seem serious about getting under the $189 million mark in 2014, and Swisher isn't part of that.


Agreed. Given a 1-year $13.3M qualifying offer, it was more about years than $ in 2013 for both Swisher and the Yankees.
   34. Brian White Posted: December 23, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4331608)
They got Trevor Bauer for one season of Shin-Soo Choo. Bauer has a shot at outperforming Choo this year, and he's certainly an excellent bet to outperform nothing in 2014 and beyond.


Yep. Or, to put another way, by replacing Choo with Swisher, they get a bit older, and a bit worse, in the outfield, but pick up a terrific pitching prospect in the process. That's a perfectly defensible set of moves no matter where a team is in the so-called success cycle.
   35. 33Boots Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4331739)
Swisher hit .230/.324/.380 in AA at Midland when he was 22. I remember giving up on him completely as that season went along. That's got to be pretty damn rare...players having truly awful seasons in the high minors and then going on to be above average players in the bigs (and well above average in Swisher's case).

   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 23, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4331744)
+ 15 Bat - 2 Run + 21 Rep - 8 Pos + 1 Def = +27 RAR (4 years, $48M)

No downward adjustments as Swisher ages?
The (very rough) contract value calculation includes a -0.5 WAR per season aging factor. So he's projected to +27 next year, +22 the year after, and so on. I call it the "dumber-than-Marcel" because the Marcel projection includes a more specific aging factor, which is difficult to implement so I don't.
   37. Dan Posted: December 24, 2012 at 02:18 AM (#4331808)
Yep. Or, to put another way, by replacing Choo with Swisher, they get a bit older, and a bit worse, in the outfield, but pick up a terrific pitching prospect in the process. That's a perfectly defensible set of moves no matter where a team is in the so-called success cycle.


I don't think we should overlook that they also swapped Choo's increasingly large platoon splits for a true switch hitter in Swisher. The Indians lineup has skewed heavily toward lefties lately, and the addition of Swisher (plus Stubbs and Reynolds) should make them less vulnerable to left handed pitching than they have been the last few years.
   38. donlock Posted: December 24, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4331995)
“For Cleveland? Why Nick, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Cleveland!”

Apologies to Robert Bolt

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