Word out of Yankee camp is that Xavier Nady will be the starting RF for the Yankees instead of Nick Swisher. This is quite possibly a mistake. Swisher, over the course of his career, has been a better player than Nady: he’s better at getting on base, he’s a better fielder, and he’s a better baserunner. However, the only thing Swisher does significantly better is drawing walks, so this decision is defensible.
So why should it be Swisher then?
Obviously if you just look at last year, Nady is coming off a career year while Swisher is coming off a down year, which means Swisher projects to bounce back while Nady projects to regress more towards the mean.
Also, Swisher is younger than Nady and signed for the next 3 seasons. Nady is likely done after this year. With Matsui and Damon both also set to be free agents, it behooves the Yankees to give Swisher every opportunity to succeed.
Of course, to play devil’s advocate to my own argument, perhaps it’s good to give Nady time so he can eventually be traded or leave with type A free agent status and net the Yanks some draft picks.
Perhaps Nady is getting the job because he is the incumbent, but I can’t imagine it will last long.
This is of course a good problem to have, especially with injury prone players like Damon and Matsui around. Nady is by no means a bad player and in the long run the Yankees will be happy to have him, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of Nick Swisher, who will be a big part of the Yankees’ plans for years to come.