Archive for the ‘Nick Swisher’ Category

Cleveland Indians v Texas Rangers

One of the shibboleths of contemporary baseball analysis is that teams, especially “small market” teams, must grow from within. No team can completely ignore the free agent market, or the waiver wire, or trades, but the most affordable impact talent comes through the cost-controlled players brought up through the team’s own system. Especially these days, when even teams with bigger payrolls are more loathe than ever to give up prospects, the importance of drafting future stars (not to mention international free agents) seems obvious to all. Everyone acknowledges the importance of the farm system, especially in the aftermath of hey another over-hyped MLB draft (really eager to find out which of these guys is going to pan out in three years, ya’ll!).

That is not to say that having a well-regarded farm system is itself a guarantee of future major-league success. Scott McKinney’s important historical study of top prospects established that fact in the wake of a certain team’s farm system being declared the Best in the History of Whatever, and this year a certain team confirmed the implications of McKinney’s work, as even more optimistic analysts acknowledge.

I am not here to refute the notion that, generally speaking, a good farm system built through amateur talent is essential to any team on any budget — even the Yankees, whose two best position players thus far in 2013, Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner, were both drafted and developed internally and are yet to reach free agency. However, there is one team that has put together a good group of position players while on a small budget without drafting almost anyone in the current group: Cleveland.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Cleveland Indians have made a splash into the free agent market, agreeing to a contract with outfielder Nick Swisher, according to the New York Daily News.

The deal is reportedly a four year contract worth $56 million, with a $14 million vesting option in 2017, making the contract worth up to $70 million.

The 32-year outfielder, who played baseball at Ohio State University, paid a visit to Cleveland earlier this week, and was given the superstar treatment by the Indians front office, in hopes of convincing him that a homecoming would be the best decision for himself and his family.

Read the rest of this entry »

There has been a lot of talk this off-season about windows. Such and such a team is trying to keep their window for contention open for another year while this team over here is not quite ready to compete. The idea of a window is any given team — the players which makes up their core — has a finite period of time which they can expect to contend for the playoffs and beyond.

This concept is a decidedly middle-class problem. The Yankees window has been open since 1995. The Pirates live in a dark, windowless room into which no light or joy or hope may enter. The Royals pulled the trigger on significant trade, confounding pundits who believed their window to not yet be open. The Blue Jays overhauled their roster, emptying their farm system to move up their timeline for competitiveness from “never” to “now.”

Cleveland made a significant trade a few weeks back, trading their best player to Cincinnati as well as key members of their bullpen in a three-way deal which netted the Tribe center fielder Drew Stubbs, top prospect Trevor Bauer and some bullpen detritus.

A great trade for one year of Choo but Cleveland will surely be worse in 2013 than they were in 2012. Is now the time to load up for with a big free agent buy? Cleveland sure thinks so, going all out in pursuit of hometown boy Nick Swisher.

Read the rest of this entry »

The perception exists that those who write about baseball without insider sources or media accreditation have no place criticizing front offices for their decisions. It’s argued that the proliferation of these uninformed negative opinions is insulting and unfair to the targets of scorn and ridicule, which is usually a team’s general manager.

I think that such a stance is a bit of a stretch, but I do agree that there’s a tendency among bloggers, columnists and reporters to be purposefully narrow minded in their considerations. This can be seen in only writing about statistics or only writing about intangibles or only writing about finances, without considering that perhaps, all three of these things and more factors inform a decision. Still, it’s those who are left unprotected by their lack of sources and access that are most open to judgment.

Read the rest of this entry »