Picking up Robinson Cano’s option for 2012 is a no-brainer. Picking up Nick Swisher’s could be nearly as cut-and-dry, but there is an alternative. As Joel Sherman mentioned this morning, the Yankees could go after Carlos Beltran.
Coming off a strong return-to-form season, Beltran is one of the best bats on the market. He’s a switch hitter, he’s more than capable in the field, and his postseason track record — although both distant and relatively limited — is strong.
It starts with the fact Beltran is 34 years old, and Sherman predicts a three-year deal worth $42 million. Putting Beltran in right field adds another name to the list of aging players with multi-year contracts for the Yankees. That’s especially worrisome given the fact Beltran hit just .255 in 2010 and has a series of health concerns. He didn’t play more than 81 games in 2010 or 2009, and this season he was hurt soon after being traded to the Giants.
To me, one of the biggest perks of re-signing Swisher is that he comes with no long-term risk. One year at $10.25 million isn’t a bad contract for a guy who gets on base and hits for power the way Swisher does. Given the way the corner outfield market exploded last winter, Swisher’s option isn’t a bad deal at all. From June 1 through the end of the regular season, he hit .283/.393/.513.
Granted, he’s never done much in the postseason, but Beltran hasn’t even been to the postseason since 2006, and there’s little guarantee that he’d be healthy enough to play in October next year.
It may be that none of this matters anyway. Brian Cashman has already made it clear that pitching is his priority this offseason, and he hinted that the Yankees might not do much to tweak the lineup.
“Our offense, despite (Game 5), is an area of strength,” Cashman said. “Offensively we should be OK.”
Associated Press photo