Houston Astros Should Pursue Former Yankee Nick Swisher

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IOctober 31, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 15: Nick Swisher #33 of the New York Yankees in action during their game against the Los Angeles Angels on July 15, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Houston Astros may have been the worst team in baseball for 2012, but they would be an ideal home for free agent Nick Swisher.

Nick Swisher's time in New York has come to an end and the results were mixed.

On the one hand, he helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series title, hit a lot of home runs and was named to the 2010 American League All-Star Team.

And his fun sense of humor made him popular among the fans and his teammates as a real Yankee character.

On the other hand, he consistently underperformed in the postseason and was a target of many of the booing fans during the 2012 playoffs.

Admitting being hurt by the boos in the Bronx, as reported by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, may have been straight forward and honest, but it essentially put the nail in the coffin of his Yankee tenure.

As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported in August, Swisher would be seeking a deal similar to Jayson Werth's $126 million pact. The chances of that happening are probably slim. Swisher remains a productive player but was never an elite one. He will be 32 next season and teams will probably be reluctant to spend that kind of money on a player who will probably be declining.

But for a reasonable deal, the Astros should make an offer. The team will be entering 2013 as a member of the American League West and a lot of uncertainty in their lineup.

First baseman Brett Wallace is talented but inconsistent. The outfield is a collection of unproven players like Fernando Martinez, J. D. Martinez, Jimmy Paredes and Jordan Schafer.

And now they will need a full-time DH.

A player with Swisher's enthusiasm, experience and ability to play both corner outfield spots, first base and DH would give Houston a lot of flexibility.

Plus as a veteran with a World Series ring, he could play up his leadership qualities and help a young team be molded.

The Astros would be foolish to sign him to a nine-figure deal. But for three seasons, Swisher could play a role in helping a turnaround in Houston.

That was incidentally Jayson Werth's role in Washington. The Astros should bring him in for the same purpose. Just for a lot less money.