It's a darn good thing that the Yankees decided against trading for Nick Swisher this winter. After they signed Mark Teixeira, Swisher's role on the team became unclear which led to trade speculation which proved to be false. 10 days into the season it's looking like the smartest deal Brian Cashman didn't make.
Swisher has hit four home runs already this season and thrown a scoreless inning of relief to boot, and now it looks like he'll be the starting Yankee right fielder for a long time. Xavier Nady Nady reported "extreme pain" after making a throw during Tuesday night's win against the Rays and he's already had reconstructive Tommy John surgery on the right elbow.
Nady had an MRI today, and Peter Abraham of the Journal News reports that he indicated it showed a tear which will require surgery. Abraham goes onto report that the word is that Nady will miss the rest of the season. Nady will return to New York with the team to meet with more doctors, so nothing is official at this point, but the signs don't look very good for Nady.
It's bad news for the Yankees, too, but Swisher mitigates things a great deal. He's a switch-hitter and has been an everyday player throughout his career so he should slide right into the lineup without missing a beat. Melky Cabrera remains on the roster to pick up defensive and pinch-running duties as the fourth outfielder, and the Yankees would likely call up or acquire another player to fill in wherever else is needed.
Most of the focus on the Yankee payroll is on the size of the contracts given to players like CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, but Swisher's presence on the roster illustrates another benefit of having so much cash. Swisher appeared to be superfluous before the season, but he's already filled in for Texieira and now will apparently replace Nady in the lineup. For years the Yankees have been tissue thin behind their starters, but this year they used some of that largesse for the bench and its paid off.
Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.