The New York Yankees signed Nick Swisher to a minor-league deal to see if he can provide off the bench, but what they really need is a jolt in the locker room.
In last night’s loss against the Oakland Athletics, the Bronx “Bummers” went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position leaving them 2-for-42 with RISP this home stand.
In the long-run, this funk will turn itself around, but what time won’t fix is how bland the chemistry of the 2016 New York Yankees looks.
Yes, we have the flashy Didi Gregorius making the toughest of plays look easy and Starlin Castro impressing everyone in his first month sporting Yankee pinstripes, but what this team lacks is a player that brings energy to this dreary lineup.
This is an area in which Nick Swisher specializes in.
Swisher was a member of the dominant 2009 championship team but hit a bumpy road after signing a four-year, $56-million deal with the Cleveland Indians in 2012.
After being traded to the Atlanta Braves he batted .195 and he was cut in Spring Training before landing a minor-league deal with the Yankees.
Immediately after signing his minor-league contract, he was assigned to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders where he is tearing it up.
Nick is being positively Swisherlicious with his .333/.381/.556 slash line with a home run and three RBI. Not only is he hitting the cover off the ball, but he’s playing loose with a child-like energy, something that will never change despite being 35-years of age.
Now before you say “it’s only minor-league pitching,” he homered off Drew Hutchinson on Monday. Hutchinson went 13-5 in 28 starts for the Toronto Blue Jays a year ago so Swisher is proving that he hasn’t lost the ability to hit big league pitching.
“He faced Hutchison, a big-league pitcher, and he did some damage,” Girardi told Brendan Kuty of NJ Media. “He’s swinging the bat good. We talk about always wanting depth. Let’s see where it goes.”
While tearing it up in Triple-A, he’s playing surprisingly loose for a guy who’s trying to prove his worth.
“It’s been a crazy last couple years but I finally have a smile on my face,” Swisher said on the Michael Kay Show. “When I have a big smile on my face that’s when I’m the best player I can be.”
It’s highly doubtful the Yankees will get the 2010 All-Star version of Swisher as he’ll only be a bench option in the Bronx, but no matter what anyone says, “good chemistry” is a crucial characteristic of every winning team.
No championship team that, I can remember at least, had poor chemistry. I am a firm believer that Swisher’s loud personality can create a unique vibe, something he did back in 2009.
Chemistry serves as a meaningful impingement by virtue of the adversity teams go through -like the Yankee lineup is currently experiencing- and the closer a group is, the better they perform.
As much as Girardi says the offense isn’t pressing, there is a lack of energy at Yankee Stadium and it’s creating a downbeat atmosphere. From the current slump to the empty seats there isn’t much to cheer for.
A shift in attitude toward having fun, while still taking care of business might be what the Yankees need the most.