November 9, 2012
Friday, November 9
Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and the Blue Jays shuffling relievers on and off their 40-man roster. Jeremy Jeffress, acquired from the Royals for cash considerations on Thursday, is the newest member of the organization, and Scott Maine, claimed off waivers from the Indians on Oct. 31, is back in the unemployment line. Here’s a look at what else is afoot heading into the weekend:
Nick Swisher a hot commodity in crowded outfield market
A disciplined hitter with 25-homer power, Swisher’s output was not a product of Yankee Stadium’s short porch; he hit .283/.370/.464 in the Bronx and .261/.359/.482 away from it last season. Swisher is also one of only four switch-hitting outfielders—along with Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, and Shane Victorino—on the market who played regularly in 2012, and his pop and ability to play first base in a pinch set him apart from the trio.
But all of those skills come with a steep price tag, which—if a late-August report by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman is to be believed—could be in the range of Jayson Werth’s seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals. Assuming a generous cost of $6 million per win, Swisher would need to maintain a 3.0-win pace over the life of the hitch to warrant his paychecks. With his strikeout rate trending upward (22.6 percent in 2012, his worst since 2008) and his walk rate slowly diminishing (12.3 percent, his second-worst since 2006), that’s probably an unrealistic expectation, and even a sizzling market figures to force Swisher’s agent, Dan Lozano, to back off the Werth comparison.
Feinsand tweeted that five teams have expressed “serious interest” in Swisher, specifically naming the Rangers, who may not have the resources to retain Hamilton, and the Mariners, who are expected to be in the running for the biggest fish. A separate rumor from Thursday’s mill might reveal a third member of the Swisher quintet…
Phillies focusing on free-agent, not trade, solutions
Swisher could be a fit in either outfield corner, spots currently occupied by Domonic Brown and 2012 minor-league standout Darin Ruf, but the Phillies’ more pressing need is in center field, where the only internal options are John Mayberry and Nate Schierholtz. Gelb suggests that Michael Bourn, Pagan, and B.J. Upton will all make their way onto Amaro’s radar, but the general manager admitted that his budget is “not unlimited,” and the Phillies must also improve at third base and in the bullpen. If Philadelphia’s payroll stays around $165-170 million, Amaro has $20-25 million to dole out, with the exact figure depending on whether he chooses to non-tender Schierholtz.
Cubs among teams bidding for Hyun-Jin Ryu
Exactly how much competition the Cubs are facing for Ryu's rights is uncertain, but Rangers beat writers Evan Grant and Jeff Wilson believe that, a year after bringing Yu Darvish over from Japan, general manager Jon Daniels is looking to the Far East for rotation help again. The deadline to submit bids was 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, and Hanwha now has four days to decide whether to accept the top offer. To pass the time, here’s video of Ryu fanning 13 batters in a start this past April.