Thursday, January 3, 2008

Swisher Trade

The Oakland A's surprised a bunch of people on Thursday trading Nick Swisher to the White Sox for 3 minor leaguers. Following the trade of Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks a couple weeks ago, I think everyone figured the A's would continue to make more trades and rebuild, that was no surprise to anyone. More specifically, I think most people, like me, thought the next guy to get traded from the A's would have been Joe Blanton. After all, if you are going to rebuild, isn't a young slugger like Nick Swisher the type of player you build an organization around? Does anyone else find it odd that Billy Beane would trade a young slugger who could be the corner stone of the franchise for the next 5-6 seasons? My thoughts on this later on...

The White Sox bolster a line up that features 5 guys who could all potentially hit .270 with 30homeruns and 90rbis (Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, Swisher, Jermaine Dye, and Josh Fields). Add to that the addition of Orlando Cabrera from the Angels and the White Sox still have the second or third best line up in their division. Being surrounded with this sort of talent and moving into a more hitter friendly ballpark should help Swisher improve his numbers a bit from last season.

That being said, I would still not go overboard and move Swisher that far up on my '08 draft board. After seeing Swisher hit .254 with 35hr and 95rbis in 2006, I had Swish very high in my '07 draft and figured that he would build on those numbers and make himself an MVP contender. Instead fantasy owners, like myself, actually saw Swisher regress as a hitter, and put up numbers that were startlingly similar to his 2006, rookie season campaign.

2007 OAK 539 84 141 22 78 100 3 0.2616
2006 OAK 556 106 141 35 95 97 1 0.2536
2005 OAK 462 66 109 21 74 55 0 0.2359

Maybe this is sour grapes from being burned by him last season, but I really don't see Swisher building on the merits of his '06 season any time soon. Sometimes players slump in the first half and pick it up in the second half (see Swish's current teammate Jermaine Dye as an example). But Swish's 2007 was so consistent, without many peaks or valleys in it, it would be tough to look at one prolonged slump as a reason for his poor numbers, because in reality the entire season was a prolonged slump. There was also never a mention of injury to account for his sudden and abrupt loss of power, as there was in his 2006 season when he acquired mono for the month of July and his number dipped across the board.

I doubt a change of scenery helps any. As Swish loved playing in Oakland, and was a favorite both in the clubhouse and to the fans. I think with Chicago Swisher turns into a younger version of Raul Ibanez. He had one really outstanding season, and a bunch of solid seasons after that, that make people forget he is around. Maybe Billy Beane already knew this. They had gotten all they could out of Swisher and traded him before his value dropped after this season. Swisher is still a fine, fine fantasy player, just don't let this trade make you over value him come draft time.

As for Oakland, I think that for 2008, the player who could have the most impact is the hard throwing, Fautino De Los Santos. I could see him possibly setting up or getting an early shot at closing, especially if Oakland also trades Houston Street, while they continue to rebuild.

Looking ahead, after this news, I expect Oakland to trade Eric Chavez next, probably to the Brewers. I think the Brewers are still looking for a veteran 3b, and this makes more sense than trading in their own division to get Scott Rolen from the Cardinals. Figure Beane will bide his time with Blanton and he has enough suitors that he can sit back and wait for someone to come to him with a deal.


Anonymous said...

Five guys that hit .270. Do you think that is a smart way to build a team? They were top 10 in HR's last year, but near the bottom of OBP. When they won the WS they had a team that got on base and played "Smart-ball". Where has that gone. This team always had bangers, won with timely hitting, and now they are back to bangers. Have fun in the basement of the NL Central this year.

Phil said...

... AL central, atleast I don't know what I am talking about. I never said they would be good, I just said they would hit. Thanks meat.