Nick Swisher and breakup syndrome

So, why won’t Swisher be a Yankee next season? First, he is going to ask for a contract he deserves which will likely be for four or five years at $15 to $17 million per. Secondly, the Yankees have other deals to get done and will not consider Swisher at that kind of money when 2014 already has a hard cap of $184 million. And last, have you heard any words from guys like Brian Cashman or Boy Steinbrenner stating they would like to keep the guy? Both have stated that Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are priorities. The latter of those two might be working his way out of that stance, but still. Nobody has come out and said that Nick Swisher is a priority or even something to the effect that it would be nice to have him back.

Swisher has to know these things. And it has to suck for him personally. He likes being in the center of the baseball universe. And it is obvious that he has totally enjoyed his time as a Yankee.

Getting back to my wife for a minute, she is a pretty good study of people. And early in the first game of this Tigers series…before it started to go so wrong for the Yankees…Swisher was up for the first time in the game. My wife said, “Swisher doesn’t look right. Look at his eyes, he doesn’t look right.” Well, perhaps that was a hangover from the champagne the day before after clinching the ALDS against the Orioles. It was at that moment, though, that I started to ponder if Swisher was (if we eliminate the hangover angle) starting to feel the weight of the end of his Yankee experience.

And as the first two games of the series spiraled into something from Dante’s Inferno, it just kept getting worse. The TBS guys kept throwing up Swisher’s RISPFail in the post season. Yankee fans started to boo him along with Granderson and A-Rod after Swisher would strike out with people on base. And then he lost that ball in the lights. The fans let him have it. His fans. Perhaps Bald Vinny and his section wasn’t involved, but those bleacher folks were his folks and they were on him hard. Swisher was hurt by the reaction. I can’t say as I blame him and would feel the same way in his shoes. Twitter became abuzz as Bald Vinny’s Twitter account confirmed that Swisher was ignoring them on their roll calls. The breakup has begun.

And it is too bad it has ended up this way. It would have been super if Swisher’s last days as a Yankee would be fun and full of celebrations. It would have been great if he could have come up with a big hit in one of those extra inning games that could have won the game. But he didn’t. And the Yankees lost and lost Jeter and lost again.

I reread that article I wrote back in the spring and read through the comments. Even then, there were comments about Swisher being great in the season and terrible in the post season. They turned out to be prophetic, but then again, based on history, it might not have been one of the harder predictions to make. Swisher has been a great Yankee during the regular season. He has put up good numbers and though he was streaky, the final tallies were all positive. And I am always the first person to say that post season numbers are random and not to be taken too seriously. But it is hard to ignore Swisher’s record.

He has now played in 45 post season games. That small sample size is getting a little larger. In those forty-five games, he has the exact same number of total bases. Think about that for a second. During his regular season career, he has averaged 1.64 total bases per game. That goes down to 1.00 in the post season. He has driven in seven runs in those 45 games. Seven! And four of those came on homers. Of his post season series with the Yankees, his batting averages have been: .250, .083, .150, .133, .333 (Twins), .091, .211, .111 and .250. His triple slash line in 45 post season games: .167/.284/.300.

Yes, it would have been nice for “Swish” to go out with a bang. I, personally, work better (emotionally) expecting the worse, so I am not hopeful for the rest of this series. Though the 1996 metaphor mentioned in the comments on Brien’s piece is a good reminder, it seems too unbelievable to happen again. And so I am resigned to the fact that I may have seen Swisher in pinstripes for the last time. It would have been a fitting end of his Yankee tenure to have a good post season. But it was not to be.  The fade away for the fans has already begun. His words of hurt are his way of fading away and getting ready for the coming breakup. It would be nice to be wrong. My wife prays that I’m wrong. But the divorce seems inevitable.

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

9 thoughts on “Nick Swisher and breakup syndrome

  1. jay_robertson

    I'd still rather see a slightly cheaper Swish (at least, earning less than he wants) than to blow all that money on Granderson. Or, for that matter, Cano.

    But he does tend to disappear, and his whining about being held accountable for abysmal play – I guess he can go hit the open market. Should he not get any 15 million dollar offers, maybe he can come back.

    • Eli

      I agree with you in the sense that I rather not blow a ton of money on granderson. And even Cano might be asking for too much money when we realistically examine his work ethic and the history of long contracts for players going well into their 30's. Swish was fun but the Yankees need consistent play from April through October.

  2. Meh

    I like Swisher and he has been a pretty productive player. But, these post season flame-outs are becoming harder and harder to dismiss. Yes, sample size and all that jazz. But at this point it might be nice to see someone else in RF next year. Maybe someone who can actually field the position adequately.

    • BrienJackson

      I feel somewhat bad for him, really. He had a really productive Game One in the ALDS, but the second he put up an 0-fer in Game Two the press was all over it, and that has been that. He didn't get any credit for having good at bats while Cano, A-Rod, and Granderson were being abused, it was just "Swisher chokes." So now he's back to flailing wildly, trying to change the narrative with every swing.

  3. Edmund_Dantes

    Trade Granderson,let Swisher walk and try to get younger.As yankee fans we survived the 80's/early 90's teams we can survive a few down years now.

    • What would be the point of this?

  4. jay_robertson

    Maybe we could talk the Tigers into trading Granderson for Jackson…

    :D

  5. hconnor2001

    There was nothing considered about the makeup of the 80s Yankees. Just lurching from one George-disaster to the next. It was every bit as much win now as it is today, if not more so, but without the hope of actually doing so!

  6. Bill

    I actually would take Swisher over Granderson. Swisher will at least draw a walk here and there and he makes more contact. But I have a strange feeling he's using the treatment by the fans over the weekend as a rationale for him to leave. I don't think there's any chance that he will get a Jayson Werth deal, but he certainly could get a 4 year deal for $50-60 million, which might be something the Yankees could swallow. An outfield of Gardner, Swisher and someone that Cashman will obtain in the offseason would probably be superior to what they're throwing out there now. I know it's nuts to toss a 43 home run hitter overboard, but 195 strikeouts on a team that already strikes out too much is more than they can afford. Plus, they flat out can't sign Swisher, Granderson and Cano and stay under the $189 million cap that Hal has mandated. We all know that.

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