Nick Swisher is headed to Cleveland for a date with team president Mark Shapiro. Obviously this happens all the time with free agents as they have to explore all their options. The Mariners may have had dinner with Swisher as well, but no word has been spoken of that.
Is this a problem for the Mariners?
I guess that all depends on if you really like Nick Swisher and believe that he can help make this team any better. In my opinion, the negatives greatly outweigh the positives, especially now that we know Cleveland is in full pursuit of the free agent slugger. Here are a couple of things to be concerned about.
First off, Nick Swisher is going to get paid. He is the last standing free agent with any kind of bat available on the market. IF there are multiple teams bidding, Swisher's value will increase far above what he is actually worth.
There are a lot of teams already overpaying for free agents this year due to enormous television contracts and that doesn't help teams that have a budget like the Mariners.
The Mariners don't have a cap that will be a concern when it comes to signing a player like Swisher, but they aren't going to be stupid either.
The other factor to consider would be that Swisher is coming from a power stocked lineup as a Yankee. Swisher has been in a lineup that is full of protection and coming to Seattle, he would be the guys asked to protect our young players and help turn this team around. What has made Swisher the player he is in New York is truly not available to him in Seattle and could really be the downfall of his career if he comes to Seattle and struggles as many others have.
Swisher is said to be one of the most consistent players in baseball as his numbers have showed over his entire career. When with the Oakland A's he started putting up great numbers with fellow teammates Frank Thomas, Jack Cust (at the time), Milton Bradley, and Eric Chavez. The only part of that lineup that could be encouraging to the Mariners is that Swisher batted in about every possible spot in the lineup in 2006 where he hit 35 homeruns.
Last year Swisher was in a hitter friendly Yankee Stadium where he was surrounded by sluggers and hit just .272 with 24 homers. Protection? He isn't going to get it here in Seattle and it's still, even with the fences moved in, harder to hit at Safeco Field than it is in New York.
The question remains, should the Mariners pursue Nick Swisher? My answer would be absolutely not! In my opinion, Swisher would be the next ex-Oakland Athletic to come to Seattle and have a horrible contract, the only difference, this one would cost a ton more than the others that came before him. The Mariners need offense, but the price on Nick Swisher for what we will get is going to be too high.
The Mariners need to stay put this year. I know, it's as hard to write something like this as it is to hear it. The fact is, players do not want to come to Seattle and no matter how you woo a player to Safeco Field, the price is going to be steep. If we can go through the 2013 season and prove to the world that our hitters can hit and compete with these new park dimensions, it will go a long way to signing a free agent next off-season. The market next year is said to be more full of free agent hitters.
At the sound of things and the way they have gone this year, I don't think the Mariners are going to make any splashes. Even in the trade market teams are looking to Seattle as a desperate team and are asking for way more than what Jack Zduriencik is willing to offer. He has been quoted saying that he is unwilling to risk the future of the organization for offense. This makes some people really mad, but me? I think it's the best thing that we could hear as Mariner fans.
Let's hope our young players can prove their talent this year in a more fair park. That's all we can hope for and it may not be the best, but don't give up Mariner fans, don't give up!