Should the Cincinnati Reds acquire Nick Swisher?


You may have heard that the Cincinnati Reds are in the market for a left fielder. After yesterday’s near deathblow of acquiring Marlon Byrd from the Philadelphia Phillies, it is obvious that general manager Walt Jocketty is looking to make a deal to acquire a left fielder.

The new question now becomes: who should that be? The Reds may not have to look very far; in fact, the answer may be within their own state.

Currently manning first baseman and the corner outfield positions for the Cleveland Indians, Nick Swisher is an interesting candidate. Bringing an enigmatic personality, Swisher is upbeat enthusiasm personified. He talks like a walking Red Bull advertisement, while possessing a carefree spirit that seems impossible to not be drawn to. Despite his outstanding personality traits, how well can he still play?

Swisher will play all of 2015 as a 34-year-old. He is five seasons removed from his only All-Star appearance of his career, which came with the New York Yankees back in 2010. Prior to his aberration of 2014, Swisher had homered at least 20 times in nine straight seasons.

The aforementioned 2014 season will cause many to throw up red X’s in protest of this deal. Swisher falling off the edge of the earth in 2014 for career-worsts in nearly every single offensive category isn’t so much a precursor, as it is an anomaly. For his career, he still averages 27 home runs and a .353 on-base percentage for the season, while also happening to bat from both sides of the plate. There should be no doubt about Swisher’s abilities to still play on an everyday basis.

Unfortunately, it almost always comes back to money. And in the case of Nick Swisher, that’s not a positive thing if the Reds hope to acquire him. Scheduled to make $15 million each of the next two seasons, Swisher has a clause in his contract that states if he achieves 550 plate appearances in 2016; a $14 million deal for 2017 (when he’ll be 36 years old) will kick in.

Under those current conditions, there is absolutely no way the Reds could ever afford Swisher. Fortunately, the Tribe are looking to move him and his exorbitant deal, which creates leverage for the Redlegs. In the same way that the Dodgers shelled out money (to a team in their own division, no less!) just to get Matt Kemp out the door to San Diego, the Indians could easily send a large chunk of cash the Reds’ way to take Swisher off their hands.

Just how much would they need to send? That’s entirely based on how much the Reds were willing to give up in terms of players it would take to acquire him, but in speaking dollars, you’d assume the Indians would have to agree to give at least $15 million of the potential $44 million he’ll be owed. Even with that minimum dollar value, Swisher’s contract would get decreased down to $10 million in 2015, $10 million in 2016, and $9 million in 2017—numbers that the Reds are somewhat willing to pay after discussions of adding Byrd’s $8 million paycheck in the previous 24 hours.

In all the ways that Byrd has shown his likelihood of digression, Swisher has produced one season where things fell off the rails. It’s not as if Nick Swisher forgot how to play baseball, he just needs a change of scenery, and the Queen City might be the magic formula.

Go ahead and vote on the poll below for whether or not you’d like to see the team acquire Nick Swisher.