Word is that the Red Sox and the Yankees have had a mini biding war over free agent Nick Swisher. Swisher is switch hitter who is listed as an outfielder, but can play most positions of the diamond. He’s coming off a season where he batted a bit above .270 and knocked in a five-year best 93 runs. He offers above average power, a good intuition for drawing walks, and has won the battle against age for a season. But over the course of the 4 year/$60 million contract the Red Sox are apparently offering, winning the war seems highly unlikely. Handing out $15 million a year to a player on the wrong side of his career is what led to the hole the Sox are currently in, not the kind of deal that warranted two World Series wins. According to Sabermetrics, a win above replacement is worth $5-5.5 million on the open market, so Swisher would have to remain at this level of productivity to get value out of the contract. And let’s be honest, the only thing worse than overpaid free agent is an overpaid former Yankee. Swisher’s true value would have to come out of his ability to play many positions on the field.
The Red Sox have a lot of holes in the lineup and Swisher could lineup at left or right field while they platoon the rest of the outfield until they find a permanent situation. . He doesn’t have a significant injury history, so that may lead the Red Sox to overestimate his value in the field. He has posted a negative Defensive Wins above Replacement every season of his career. So maybe they are looking at him to become a future replacement for David Ortiz at DH. When he becomes older he won’t be a great fill in at DH unless his power upgrades significantly. And at this point the Red Sox need to embrace the reality that they’re sellers and not buyers. The Red Sox need to go into a rebuilding phase, and handing out $60 million contracts to 32 year old is not a rebuilding plan. Swish is not the guy for the Sox right now.