Will working with Sports Psychologist help Swish?
Article on MLB.com about Nick Swisher and all that he has done in the off-season to “get to the next level” . “I want to be known as a good ballplayer,” he said. “There’s a lot more to me than just a good clubhouse guy. That’s the statement I’m trying to make this year.”
To get to the next level he has gotten in great condition training with the Ohio State football team and starting to eat properly. While this is important, we hear tons of players say every ST that they are in the best shape of their career. I do believe it will help because although it was never written anywhere, Swisher looked soft and out of shape to me last Spring and I think it led to his dismal first 2 months. He got married last off-season and I think it took him a couple of months to work back into proper condition last yr.
Swish acknowledged that athletes always say they are in great shape and said the thing that will really give him an edge is he started seeing a sports psychologist. This is an interesting development to me because Swisher is such an emotional and animated player that perhaps this will help him to relax a bit. He’s a solid player but his 2 biggest knocks are inconsistency and terrible post-season play. While most dismiss his post-season struggles with the convenient “small sample size” theory, perhaps there is credence to the theory that he puts too much pressure on himself in these situations and if he learns to better relax himself and focus, he’ll improve. Psychology is a big part of sports and there are certain people who put added pressure on themselves and tense up or try to do too much in certain situations. It remains to be seen if this will help Swisher, but if he becomes more consistent and finally has a good post-season, it will definitely add to his value in Free Agency.
Which brings us to the question of what to do with him at the end of the year. I have never been the biggest fan of Swisher’s. He’s a solid player and was very valuable when his first 2 years in relation to his salary. But hitting the open market, he should be in line for at least a 3-yr deal and possibly 4 at anywhere from $10-15M per yr depending on this season. IMO, the Yanks simply cannot afford to re-sign Swish due to the impending 2014 budget constraints. I think the right move is to offer Swisher the $12.5 Million Arbitration tender necessary to get 1st rd Draft Pick Compensation if he signs with another team. that way, if he leaves you get a pick and if he stays, you have him for 1 year without adding another high guaranteed deal to the 2014 budget.
The emergence of Zoilo Almonte this Spring has raised a lot of eyebrows and if the young OF has a good season in the minors, he could be in line to help in 2013 or 2014. Either way, I don’t think the Yanks can sign Swisher long-term. I believe they can trade for a lower priced OF to provide solid production and who is a better hitter from the LH side.
What does everyone think…..is the ‘great shape & nutrition” and “sports psychology” going to make a difference for Swish? And would you keep him after this season?