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Nick Swisher making a case to stay in NY

08/29/2012 11:24 AM ET
By Jon Lane

Things are looking up for Nick Swisher, but will the Yankees keep him around after 2012?(AP)

Poll

At the beginning of the season it was widely assumed this would be Nick Swisher’s final season in pinstripes. The thought was with the Yankees determined to get under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold by 2014, re-signing Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson – both free agents after the 2013 season – was higher on the pecking order. Swisher has reportedly been seeking big money, which means the Yankees would let him walk.

Or will they? I wrote last week that the Swisher situation is one to monitor down the stretch. And based on how he’s played since early August, the idea of the Yankees keeping Swisher beyond 2012 has since gained momentum.

Here’s why: Swisher is 16 for his last 40 (.400), and batting .361 with six homers and 21 RBIs, entering Wednesday’s matinee against the Blue Jays. Since his move to the second position in the batting order, Swishalicious is batting .342 and with leadoff hitter Derek Jeter has been a spark in a lineup depleted by injuries to Alex Rodriguez and now Mark Teixeira. And it’s not like Swisher is making noise following a collection of quiet seasons. He’s one of just three players with at least 20 homers in his last eight (David Ortiz and Paul Konerko).

That’s sustained production and enough clout for Swisher to be a big player in the free agent market. Yes, his poor October history is a bigger burden than Frodo Baggins’ journey to Mordor, but perceptions change and equity is earned when one performs under the postseason spotlight. Just ask A-Rod.

Mark Feinsand made an argument in Wednesday’s New York Daily News that the Yankees would be crazy to let Swisher walk away as a free agent, a point sure to be debated while the team fights to capture the AL East flag. As Feinsand notes, early estimates have Swisher signing a four- or five-year deal worth roughly $15 million per year with Granderson commanding $20 million annually. His proposal is to possibly trade Granderson after 2013, betting that Swisher will have longer shelf life in his late 30s.

Swisher loves New York, period. He wants to remain a Yankee and is playing like he means it. Even if he flames out in October, do you still bring him back if you’re management and let the Granderson scenario play itself out in 2013? Share some of your thoughts below and vote in our poll above.

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC

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