From Tyler Kepner’s BATS blog:
Swisher looked like a spare part after the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira, and in time he might be. But for now, Swisher is doing everything the Yankees could have wanted, and they have the notorious Ruben Rivera to thank.
Makes no sense, right? Well, follow the evolution of the trade that brought Swisher to the Yankees.
1990 – Yankees sign Rivera from Panama.
1997 – Yankees trade Rivera to Padres in Hideki Irabu deal.
1999 – Yankees trade Irabu to Expos for Jake Westbrook (and others)
2000 – Yankees trade Westbrook to Indians for David Justice
2001 – Yankees trade Justice to Mets for Robin Ventura
2003 – Yankees trade Ventura to Dodgers for Scott Proctor
2007 – Yankees trade Proctor to Dodgers for Wilson Betemit
2008 – Yankees trade Betemit to White Sox in Swisher deal
There you have it. How Nick Swisher became a Yankee, in eight easy steps.
What’s most interesting to me about this is how some of these moves were mistakes. Acquiring Irabu was clearly one, as was Betemit. The players we gave up weren’t ones we were kicking ourselves over, but we attempted to fill a need and failed to do so. Yet Irabu became Westbrook, who became Justice (good move) who became Ventura (good move) who became Proctor (good move) who became Betemit (bad move) who became Swisher (good move so far).
No GM has a spotless record, but Cashman has clearly made more good trades than bad ones. There is always going to be an element of trial and error in making deals. Though with Cashman’s renewed focus on player development, trading for backup infielders and relievers should become a thing of the past.
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