The San Francisco Giants and the Yankees: Trade Partners?

The Yankees have five DH/OF types for four lineup openings. As such, Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady have been linked to every team with an opening at first base or in the outfield. Like, oh, the Giants. A quick look at both...

Xavier Nady

Pro:

Hits for power
Can play first (third base in an emergency, too)
Cheap

Con:

Free agent after 2009
He'll never get on base a whole bunch
Free agent after 2009
His defense is below average, at best
Free agent after 2009

 

Nick Swisher

Pro:

If he's hitting .260, he's a pretty danged good hitter
Under contract until 2011, with an option for 2012
Can play first

Con:

If he's hitting .219, he's a pretty miserable hitter
Under contract until 2011, which is a "con" if his 2008 performance level is more of a new standard than a fluke

 

The Yankees received Swisher in exchange for a couple of Entertainment coupon books, but they'll surely want more in return for him. Before 2008, an Ishikawa/Swisher debate would have been absurd, but considering the seasons both players put up last year, you have to wonder how much cost certainty Swisher provides over Ishikawa for the $22M + prospects commitment it would take. It's possible that Swisher was one of the unluckiest players in baseball last year. Is it worth $22M and a couple of prospects to test that theory? I don't know, but I err on the side of "absolutely not."

Nady is a one-year rental, which seems to rule him out. So it looks like the Yankees wouldn't be a good trade partner.

...unless...

Randy Winn is also a one-year rental, and he's a better fielder in center than any of the options the Yankees have. Winn was a much better player than Nady last year once defense is taken into account. FanGraphs said Winn was worth 18 runs in the field last year, which is an absurd amount. Too absurd, even. That total is equal to his previous six years combined; expecting Winn to have that kind of fielding value again is kind of like expecting Pablo Sandoval to hit .345 again. Considering that Winn will have aged a year, I don't think it's too crazy to think that he'll regress back to his 2007 value. He would still be a good player, but he wouldn't be a defensive superstar. In 2007, Winn was worth 3.4 wins. In 2008, Xavier Nady was worth 3.6 wins, though it should be noted that was Nady's best season.

With a straight one-for-one swap, perhaps with the Giants sending the difference in salaries (about $3M or $4M after Nady goes to arbitration), the Yankees get a true center fielder, and the Giants get a hitter who is better suited to hit in the middle of the order. Nady's ability to play first might mean more at-bats for Nate Schierholtz. Oh, and Nady hit 25 homers with 95 RBI last year, which would sate some of the dingerz-n-ribbies partisans who have been very vocal this offseason.

How the deal could kill the Giants: if Winn really is as good as he was in 2008 and Nady isn't. And this trade doesn't really address the Yankees' glut of outfielders, but getting a real CF would allow the Yankees to be more creative with whom they do give up, as they wouldn't have to rely wholly on one of Melky Cabrera or Swisher to play center.

Usually my fake trades are just comment starters that I'm only half sold on. This one, though, makes a ton of sense to me. I really like Winn, but I think Xavier Nady would be a better fit for the roster.

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