It was fairly surprising to see the Blue Jays essentially dump outfielder Alex Rios and the remaining 6.5 years of his 7 year contract on the White Sox. The Blue Jays ended up saving about $60 million on this deal, and the White Sox got a relatively young productive player. Some people wonder if the Yankees missed a golden opportunity to upgrade over either Melky or Swisher. The answer is not really.
Over the last two seasons I would have told you that Alex Rios was a great addition to our outfield, and that at his price tag, the Yankees would be crazy not to take him. This was back when Abreu was getting paid $16 million to botch plays in the rightfield, Damon was habitually injured, and Melky was little more than a 4th outfielder about to give way to Brett Gardner. This season Rios stands at .264 with 14 homeruns, .317 OBP, and 19 stolen bases (his stolen base game is highly underrated). In 2007, he was at .294 with 24 homeruns 85 RBI's and a .354 OBP. This was when he looked to be a breakout player. Homeruns, RBI's and OBP were all career highs for him that year. His 2008 year wasn't bad, but with the exception of his base stealing (32 that year) he didn't build upon what he did the season before.
Right now, Rios looks to me like Cano did last season. A lot of potential and natural ability, but fails to put it all together. Rios could one day be a .300 hitter with 25+ homeruns, but you never pay now for what could potentially happen in the future, which brings us to the original question. Did the Yankees miss an opportunity with Rios? Not really. With roughly $60 million left on a back loaded contract, the Yankees would have effectively replaced Melky (whose having his best season), or Swisher (whose signed through 3 more seasons at an average price of $8.67 million). Not to mention that although Swisher's batting average is lower than Rios', Swisher is hitting for more power, and getting on base more often. Basically put, I don't think he'd be that big of an upgrade, and for $3 million more per year on average, I just don't see it worth our while. It could turn out that Rios reaches his potential down the line, but its too risky an investment, and the players he'd be replacing have been very valuable to this team.