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Yankees to sign Nick Swisher to a minor league deal

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The former All-Star hit over 100 homers in four great years in the Bronx, and it looks like he will return to provide some much-needed depth.

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Ever since the Atlanta Braves released former Yankees fan favorite Nick Swisher at the end of spring training, the thought of bringing him back has been lurking the back of my mind. I wrote about it shortly afterward and ultimately concluded that even though there isn't much first base depth behind Mark Teixeira, Swisher probably wasn't a fit. However, I only reached that conclusion with the assumption that he would only want a major league deal at this point in his career.

Minor league deals are harmless, so I have absolutely no problems with signing Swisher to a deal like that. WFAN's Sweeny Murti was one of several Yankees beat writers who reported this fascinating bit of news:

The team hasn't officially confirmed it yet, but it does seem as though the Yankees will have a "Swishalicious" reunion.

Given his knee problems (which strongly contributed to his offensive decline the past couple years), I don't buy Swisher at all as outfield depth at this point except in an emergency, but his first base experience is helpful. Dustin Ackley is the de facto first base backup right now, and as ESPN's Andrew Marchand noted, signing Swisher will put some pressure on him to produce off the bench. Although he's not as experienced a first baseman as Swisher, Ackley does have a considerable advantage in that he can also play a passable second base and outfield.

At the very least, it feels better to have Swisher as the primary first baseman in Triple-A Scranton rather than Chris Parmelee, who isn't that inspiring. Swisher's switch-hitting power bat provides a certainly more intriguing option at the MLB level should an injury befall Teixeira at some point. Since Tex has missed time due to injuries in each of the past four years, that seems probable (it seems logical that he could be promoted to DH a little bit if Alex Rodriguez goes down, too). The worst-case scenario is that Swisher is hurt or doesn't perform and the Yankees cut ties, no harm, no foul. Mark Feinsand said that he will have a June 15th opt-out if he's still in the minors, so if the Yankees are still unsure about him and a starting opportunity elsewhere comes along, then he can pursue it.

It's a smart depth move, and I'm not going to lie--it would be fun to see Swisher in a Yankees uniform again, if not only to see what he has left.