Since the Yankees are still holding onto both Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady, a big question to be answered in spring training is who will win the right field starting role. I've heard different ideas including a regular rotation of outfielders to keep everyone fresh, but if it comes down to it, Girardi will need to decide which of these players will play right, and which will play off the bench. Both of these players are every day players, and both are very talented. Let's see how their numbers match up.
Last season Nady hit career highs in several different offensive categories. He had a .305 average with 25 homeruns, and 97 RBI's splitting time between the Pirates and the Yankees. Swisher on the other had hit career lows in nearly all categories batting .219 with 24 homeruns and 69 RBI's. Nady strikes out a lot, and doesn't draw many walks while Swisher strikes out a lot, AND takes a lot of walks. Swisher is a career .244 hitter who averages about 25 homeruns a season. Nady has been consistantly growing as a player despite switching teams 4 times in the last 8 years. Last season was his first in the American league though not his first in New York as he had a stint with the Mets before being traded to the Pirates. Nady who is in his last year of arbitration, and will be a free agent after this season has all the reason in the world to mash the ball. Swisher, who has a few years under contract, is looking to bounce back from a dissapointing season. So who wins? If I had to guess, Nady will be our opening day right fielder, unless injuries say otherwise. Swisher will find playing time since injuries are pretty much a guarantee each year, and he can play both corner outfield spots as well as first base.
The most compelling idea I've heard with a rotating outfield I think came from Peter Abraham, but cannot really remember. The idea was to have a rotation between Matsui, Damon, Nady, and Swisher where one of them rests, while the others play. That way, each of them plays three days, and rests one day. When Matsui rests, one of them will get the benefit of DH'ing for a day as well. I think this sort of thing could work, but I doubt Girardi would adopt it. After all, if one of them gets hot you're not going to bench them for a game for the sake of a rotation.