Well the Yankees made their first big move of the offseason (unless we want to count Marte's deal as "big," but more on that later) in trading Wilson Betemit and Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez for Nick Swisher and minor league pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.
I, for one, am very excited for this move. The prospects of getting Swisher had been floating around for the last few weeks, but now it has come to fruition.
Now, I understand Swisher only hit .219 last year, but he had a .333 on base percentage. While standing alone a .333 OBP is bad, considering it was over 100 points higher than his batting average, it's pretty good. Swisher also led the league in pitches per plate appearance and since 2006, he is ninth in walks behind some great names, such as Adam Dunn, Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, and David Ortiz among others.
So, in Swisher, the Yankees get a guy who can play a few different positions who can also work the count and get on base, which is exactly what the Yankees need.
My only concern is what this does for the Yankees and the other Tex. This eliminates a lot of leverage Scott Boras and his client may've had, but it could also eliminate their desire to sign with the Yankees.
I'd obviously love to get Tex, but getting Swisher is a cheaper alternative. He gets on base at a great rate and definitely has some pop, with over 20 homers each full season he's had in the majors, and a .451 slugging percentage for his career.
More importantly, I think this move could be geared toward the future. Both aging outfielders Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui will come off the books next year, as will Xavier Nady. Swisher could be set up as a key piece in the outfield in 2010 and after along with (hopefully) Austin Jackson, and someone else in left field. I don't see Xavier Nady being with the team after his contract is up.
Who could that other guy be? Perhaps Matt Holliday, who will essentially have an American League try out this year and the Yankees will get to think long and hard about signing him (he'll probably be more expensive than Tex if he has a good year).
I am very excited about getting Nick Swisher and wish to welcome him to the New York Yankees. I hope you are all as excited as I am.
GO YANKEES IN 2009!