Swisher locked up (won't let me out)

By Jason Wojciechowski on May 11, 2007 at 10:42 PM

Well, that's nice news: Nick Swisher has signed the requisite "through arbitration" contract which will keep him under Oakland's control through 2011, with a club option for 2012. I think 2012 would be his first free agency year, so I'm guessing that the club option comes at a relatively steep price.

This is SOP for the A's, but it could be particularly important for a guy who's shown the consistency of hitting ability that Swisher has: he could have stood to make a lot of money in arbitration.

He'll be 30 in baseball years in 2011, so I really don't see the A's wanting to resign him once this contract ends: if all goes well, he'll be a prime candidate for a sizable 3-5 year contract that covers his decline years before he starts going on one-to-two-year deals throughout the league to finish his career.

In other words, the A's strategy is working out as usual: draft a guy out of college with good patience, power, and bloodlines; push him up the line as he succeeds at smacking the hell out of intimidated minor-league pitchers (he made the majors in this third season, second full season, in the A's system); watch him succeed in the majors for a little while; lock him up through arbitration; wave goodbye.

The exception? Eric Chavez, and that's because he was playing full time in the majors at 21, so he was much younger than Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, and Jason Giambi when they hit free agency. The exception to that list is, of course, Miguel Tejada, who signed with the Orioles to start his age-28 season.

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