The rumor out there is that the Phillies have offered a three-year deal to Josh Hamilton. WIP is reporting just that, while Buster Olney stated this morning that the Phillies were prepared to offer a three-year deal according to mlbtraderumors.com. WIP has stated it was for $80 million, roughly $27 million a season. At the same time, a source close to the Phillies told Jayson Stark that he would be “shocked” if the Phillies got Hamilton (again reported on mlbtraderumors.com). Along with that, I have heard talk on the radio that Hamilton is not the kind of player the Phillies would sign, specifically due to his past. This was just speculation, not from official sources.
Of course it would be great to have a player like Hamilton. However, I would rather have Swisher as long as it was not for more than four years. Here is why. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype for a player. The WIP afternoon guys are a good example. Hamilton put up very good numbers last year. He drove people into a frenzy with his incredibly hot start. However, he did he a big slump later on which slowed him down a bit. But still, a very good year.
But consider 2009 and 2011. In 2011 he hit .298/.346/.536 with 25 HR and 94 RBI. A good year, but not great. He only played 121 games that year. In 2009 he only got into 89 games, hitting .268/.315/.426 with 10 HR and 54 RBI. Leaving aside the substance abuse issues, the big draw back to Hamilton is that he gets hurt often. Can you really pay someone that much money when you are not sure how many games he will play? True, it’s not my money, but paying him that much means no real help for the bullpen, which is the biggest reason the Phillies didn’t make the playoffs last year. Last but not least, he is left handed. This would be yet another left-handed bat.
Swisher, is not as flashy in terms of power, but is more consistent and reliable. He is a year older, so I would not want to go beyond four years. He is a switch hitter, he has pop; you’ll get about 25 HRs out of him and he gets on base. He also isn’t a strikeout machine. As my loyal readers know, I have long advocated going after Swisher. The Philly media has not really talked about him until recently. Today, CSNphilly has a good article entitled “Why Haven’t The Phillies Seemed Keen on Swisher?”. It basically states that he has been very consistent, but theorizes that Swisher may be asking for too much. Apparently, last year there were reports that he was looking for a Werth-type contract. The author, Corey Seidman, though, goes on to describe why he probably won’t see anything like that. Seidman also considers the fact that Swisher has a reputation for being a bit goofy, and not always doing the right thing in a game, a la Victorino.
If Swisher doesn’t come off his high demands, then, yeah, I guess I would go Hamilton for 3 years. But if he becomes more realistic, then he should be number one on the Phillies list. There’s less risk involved for good production, and it will leave the team with cash to shore up the bullpen.