Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 8/21/12

An unintended consequence of Melky Cabrera‘s 50 game suspension has been an uptick in the amount of conversation about what Nick Swisher is going to get as a free agent this winter. Swisher has been elevated in the free agent outfielder ranks, and is probably #2 behind Josh Hamilton on the list of interesting OF bats that will be looking for new deals this winter.

So, this newfound interest in Swisher’s value led to a column from Jon Heyman, in which he discusses this very topic.

Word going around is, Nick Swisher, the Yankees’ eternally upbeat rightfield power supply, may seek a “Jayson Werth contract” when he hits free agency at the end of the year.

To baseball fans, that is well-known to mean $126 million over seven years. In other words, it’s a lot more money than most folks have guessed so far for Swish.

Second-hand or not, some Yankees people have heard that’s the figure Swisher is thinking about and may at least shoot for, and one other source who’s spoken to Swisher said that, indeed, Swisher has shown real interest in Werth’s deal. It’s believed the two sides have had no extension talks yet, as it is team policy to wait for free agency, except in rare cases.

While the $126-million figure is two to three times more than most of the estimates for Swisher, free agency brings some surprises. The Werth deal, for instance.

Werth was headed into his age 32 season when he hit free agency, just as Swisher will be, so there’s some value to the comparison. However, beyond just age and position, they aren’t really that much alike. Using the Custom Leaderboard and the age filters, we can isolate the age 29-31 seasons for both players, which are the three years they had leading up to their trip into free agency.

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR Werth 1,810 0.279 0.376 0.513 0.387 137 14.4 4.9 15.5 Swisher 1,717 0.274 0.364 0.481 0.365 126 10.4 -5.3 10.6

The advantage in any single area isn’t huge, but Werth just beats him across the board. He hit a little better, walked a little more, had a little more power, was a better baserunner, and produced more value in the field while occasionally playing some center field as well. In the three years leading up to free agency, Werth posted WARs of +5.2, 5.0, and 5.3. Swisher has never posted a +5 WAR season, and he’s not going to this year either.

So, no, Nick Swisher is not going to get the Jayson Werth contract. He’s simply not as good as Jayson Werth was, and that contract is generally seen as a mistake anyway, so using it as fair market value for an outfielder is probably not realistic. If Swisher has his heart set on 7/126, he’s going to come away disappointed.

However, there is another recently signed outfield contract that Swisher can aim for, and is far more realistic – the one the Dodgers just gave Andre Ethier. Here’s Swisher’s last three years compared to Ethier’s last three years.

Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR Swisher 1,717 0.274 0.364 0.481 0.365 126 10.4 -5.3 10.6 Ethier 1,595 0.288 0.361 0.453 0.351 122 -4.9 -3.2 8.0

Now this is a comparison Swisher can win. Their offensive numbers are pretty similar, with Swisher having a slight power edge over Ethier, and he grades out as a significantly better defender, though their reputations probably don’t line up with the defensive metrics. Still, Swisher can point out that he’s at least Ethier’s equal, and perhaps a little bit better, depending on whether you give him extra credit for playing in the AL, how you evaluate his defense, and how much extra credit he should get for durability. Working against him is the fact that Ethier is one year younger, but overall, most of these minor adjustments should come close to canceling out.

So, the contract Swisher needs to be pointing to isn’t Werth’s 7/126, but instead Ethier’s 5/85, and then he can argue from there that he should get a premium because Ethier’s deal was signed in-season rather than in free agency. Even though he was only a few months away from free agency, he still divested some personal risk by signing early, and presumably took a little bit of a discount in order to be rid of the injury/performance risk over the final three months of the season.

That probably leaves Swisher angling for 6/100 but seeing offers more in the 5/90 range. And, given what k +3 win players in their early-30s have been going for in free agency as of late, that sounds just about right. If the bidding gets intense, Swisher might be able to crack $100 million, especially if he goes for maximizing years over AAV. If that nine digit mark is really important to him, I could potentially see him landing a 7/100 deal, where a team agreed to tack on an extra year or two at fairly low marginal cost just to get him signed.

While none of us saw Jayson Werth getting 7/126 either, the reality is that Werth was a better player than Swisher is now, and even factoring in inflation, there’s not much of a reason for any team to pay Nick Swisher that kind of money. He’s a good player, a guy who can help you win, but he’s also an aging corner outfielder without elite offensive skills. Unless the market just goes bananas again, I don’t see Swisher getting anywhere close to Werth’s deal.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker