Yanks might move Nady or Swisher
Teixeira acquisition creates logjam in New York's outfield
NEW YORK -- The chain reaction of Mark Teixeira's big contract may create a ripple effect in the Yankees' outfield, where Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher may be sent to a new destination in advance of Spring Training.
While both players may be available for discussion, a baseball source indicated Thursday that the Yankees may be more inclined to deal Nady than Swisher, citing the difference in the players' respective contracts.
Nady is one of three remaining Yankees eligible for salary arbitration -- reliever Brian Bruney and outfielder Melky Cabrera are the others -- and will be due a raise over the $3.35 million he earned last season while splitting his campaign with the Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Yankees have proceeded with the expectation that the 30-year-old Nady would be the starting right fielder in 2009, filling the position vacated by the expected departure of free agent Bobby Abreu.
But New York's eight-year, $180 million pact with Teixeira has changed the landscape somewhat, displacing Swisher, who was acquired in November from the Chicago White Sox in a five-player deal.
The 28-year-old Swisher was originally envisioned as the Yankees' starting first baseman, but Teixeira's addition has relegated him to a backup role at first base and as a corner outfielder.
Swisher actually played the majority of his games in center field for the White Sox in 2008, appearing in 70 games there, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has said that the club does not consider him an option for center field.
Instead, Brett Gardner and Cabrera are expected to fight for the position in Spring Training, barring another addition. The Yankees flirted with the idea of trading for veteran Mike Cameron of the Milwaukee Brewers last month, but both sides mutually moved away from the idea.
New York is less likely to deal Swisher for a second time this winter, considering his contract -- he has approximately $21 million remaining over the next three seasons, plus a club option for 2012.
Swisher's uncertain bounce-back from a disappointing season also may raise questions among clubs. Swisher hit just .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBIs in 153 games for the White Sox, and his contributions reportedly did not endear him to Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen.
But the Yankees are betting that Swisher will return to the form he displayed with the Oakland A's in 2006 and '07, when the switch-hitter belted a combined 57 home runs while serving as a reliable performer on the bases.
"Swish can pretty much play anywhere," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said this week. "That's the great thing about Swish, he's versatile. It's something that we'll have to manage."
Multiple clubs would have interest in Nady, who also drew significant attention at the Trade Deadline in July before the Yankees acquired him to help upgrade for a possible run at the postseason.
Nady hit .268 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs in 59 games for New York, batting .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs in 148 games overall. Having played across town with the Mets for part of the 2006 season, Nady was thrilled to return to New York and fit into the Yankees' clubhouse well.
Concerning their crowded outfield mix, the Yankees are not likely to be able to move designated hitter Hideki Matsui, who has one year at $13 million remaining, a full no-trade clause and is coming off arthroscopic left knee surgery.
Also in a contractual walk year at $13 million for 2009, Johnny Damon might have been able to draw interest, but the Yankees envision Damon serving as their Opening Day leadoff hitter and left fielder.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.