Swisher Not So Sweet
posted Mar 03 2013, 08:27PM
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posted in MLB, Analysis

           One of, if not the most, active team this MLB offseason has been none other than the Cleveland Indians.  Who?  Yes, the AL Central's Cleveland Indians.  After nearly a 65 year championship drought, it seems as though Cleveland ownership has finally stepped out of their tepees along the Cuyahoga, and decided to spend some of the loot they have ravaged from the fans for over the past half century.  There has not been such a positive buzz amongst the friends of the feathered since the teams of the 90's; featuring many young stars, like Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, and Omar Vizquel.  Although never quite able to grasp a World Series title, the Indians came mere inches from one in 1997 and before that in 1995, losing to the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves respectively.

            This year's Tribe features some old members from seasons past like Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson, but has been rejuvenated with the likes of speedy outfielder Michael Bourn, slugging corner-man Mark Reynolds, and veteran slinger Brett Myers to go along with the election of the latest chief, one Nick Swisher.

            As a native Clevelander it pains me to inform the fans that despite their love for the hometown kid, Indians' success in 2013 does not rest on the shoulders of one Nick Swisher.  The Ohio State graduate has been heralded as the lovable savior, the fan favorite, possibly even the next chosen one, but what Cleveland fans are getting is fool's gold.  A career .256 hitter, Swisher strikes out nearly 22% of the time he steps to the dish, logging 141 K's last year for the Yankees.  Additionally, an aging Swisher, at 32, is supposedly making the full time switch from right field to first base, a position he has not played regularly since his days as a Buckeye.  To put this in perspective, Nick's 141 strikeouts ranks Swisher first amongst AL Central first basemen, with Twins Justin Morneau ranking second at 101.

            Swish has shown he can hit for minimal power, logging 20+ homers in every year since 2005, but more than 30 only once.  Couple that with Swisher's strikeout totals, and the fact that the Indians lineup looks a little different than the Yankees', and you begin to see that the it will be rather tough for Swisher to replicate his New York success in Cleveland.  I have a strong inclination that the somewhat free swinging Swisher will see a little different pitching when hitting fourth in front of Mark Reynolds, than second in front of Robinson Cano.

            Don't get me wrong, it is not all doom and gloom for the Cleveland faithful.  The mix of young talent and old veteran leadership, managed by the mild mannered Terry Francona, bodes well for the Indians; who will look to compete for not only a wild card spot, but possibly even a division title.  The ownership is finally committed, the talent is there with potential to grow, and the manager has winning experience, but please Cleveland let's not buy everything New York is selling.  Swisher has talent, can play a role, but he is not the kind of man in the middle Cleveland once had in a young Thome or Ramirez.

            So please Cleveland, before we crown this one "king" let's do a little witnessing first.


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