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Nick Swisher Wants “Jayson Werth Money”

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New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher is enjoying an outstanding season in 2012, and according to a nugget on SI’s Truth and Rumors section, he wants to be rewarded for it.

"Word going around is, Nick Swisher, the Yankees’ eternally upbeat rightfield power supply, may seek a “Jayson Werth contract” when he hits free agency at the end of the year."

It would be easy to see the above statement and dismiss it with a scoff, but the two players actually compare fairly well. In the four seasons prior to Werth’s seven-year, $126 million mega-deal he signed with the Washington Nationals, he had averaged 24 home runs, 75 RBI and an .885 OPS. He hit free agency after his age-31 season.

Swisher, who is playing his age-31 season this year, has averaged 25 homers and 81 RBI per year over his last four seasons, while posting an OPS of .850. Of course, much of Swisher’s damage has come at hitter-happy Yankee Stadium, but Wertn certainly benefited from the smaller dimensions of Citizen’s Bank Park while playing in Philadelphia as well.

Of course, the one major caveat in this discussion has to be how desperate the Nationals had been in trying to land a free agent, any free agent. Spurned in years prior by the elite free agents, such as Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira, Washington opted to vastly overpay to land Werth. The strategy is the same the Detroit Tigers had used in landing Ivan Rodriguez following the 2003 season; get the fish one to sign and the rest will change their views on the idea of playing for a historically bad team. The result, Werth winds up with a deal worth maybe twice as much as he could have realistically expected to land.

While Swisher’s raw numbers may compare well to those of Werth a couple seasons ago, I can’t imagine a team in the same situation the Nats were at that time. Historically bad franchises like Baltimore and Pittsburgh have had resurgent campaigns in 2012 and one would have to assume the perception of those clubs as losers will have softened enough to avoid having to drastically overspend for talent. The Royals, who haven’t yet gotten the results they might like from their young roster, has Wil Myers on the way next year and no use for Swisher.

The way I see it, the only way Swisher maximizes the total dollars on his next deal is to market himself to three clubs: his Yankees, the Dodgers, or the Padres. While New York is unlikely to meet his Werthian demands, Swisher could still draw a sizable deal from the deep pockets in the Bronx. Both the Dodgers and Padres, meanwhile, have new ownership groups in place and appear to have plenty of money to spend.

For more on the Yankees, see Yanks Go Yard.

John Parent is the Senior Director of Human Resources for the FanSided Network. He can be reached at john.parent@fansided.com or via Twitter @JohnJParent.