Driveline Mechanics used a compilation of projections to compare possible 2009 seasons for the Yankees current group of outfielders and Manny Ramirez. They come to the conclusion that Nick Swisher is a much better bet than Xavier Nady to have a productive season in right field. More surprisingly, however, is the comparison between Swisher and Manny:
While the Manny boat has probably sailed by now, it’s worth discussing him because if the Yankees had signed him, all the pundits would call the Yankees therunaway favorites. But assuming that dumping Swisher (or putting him on the bench) would be part of that (and leaving aside the issue of who would play in right field), would it make the Yankees that much better. Manny, even at his age, is still projected to be an incredible hitter by all three systems. But his defense gives almost his entire advantage against Swisher away. He only projects as 2.3 runs better — for all practical purposes, they are equal. And keep in mind that playing time hasn’t been considered. Swisher hasn’t had major injury problems that I know of, and is still a bit of a way from 30. Manny barely played 130 games in 2006 and 2007 and will be 37 in May. And Swisher clearly has positional versatility Manny doesn’t.
The Nady issue is clear, as my Driveline colleague David Golebiewski points out elsewhere (although in much less wordy fashion). My point here, however, is that not only is he better than Nady, but that he’s projected to be at least as good Manny Ramirez, player whose acquisition by the Bronx Bombers would make every talking head call them a lock for the division title in 2009.
Do the Yankees (or at least some of those who write about them) really think a guy in Manny’s league (but costing about $20M less) is expendable? Let’s put is this way: Would any team put Manny in competition with Xaiver Nady for a starting spot? What would we say about a team that traded Manny Ramirez if he was slated to earn $5.3 million this season?
I happen to want Nady to win the job, but may be coming around on that, as all of the statistical projections seem to favor Swisher. In regard to Manny, I highly doubt that Swisher out-produces Manny this season, but I am encouraged that their names can be grouped together in a serious conversation. Whoever ends up on the bench, the Yankees are likely to be much better equipped to deal with injuries than they have been in the past.
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