Nick Swisher was a fan favorite during his four seasons with the A’s and left the team not by choice but because he was traded to the White Sox following the 2007 season.
He’s been back to Oakland as an opposing player plenty of times since then, but after being booed by A’s fans last night Swisher voiced his frustration to Nate Stulhberg of CSNBayArea.com:
I’ve never been booed this much in my life. That’s all I really got to say about that. You boo Chavvy. You boo me. For what?
“Chavvy” is Eric Chavez, who spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the A’s before joining Swisher on the Yankees last season.
My guess is that simply playing for the Yankees explains a large part of the booing, but considering Swisher was traded away (in a good deal that got the A’s both Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Sweeney) and Chavez mutually parted ways with the A’s after playing for them from age 20 to age 32 it does seem a little odd that the crowd in Oakland would choose them as booing targets.
I’d normally say that perhaps A’s fans are simply frustrated in general and wanting to lash out at someone following five straight .500-or-worse seasons, but with the team playing very well of late and looking like legitimate playoff contenders that explanation wouldn’t make much sense either.
Yesterday we wrote about Carter Stewart, the American pitcher who, after failing to sign with the Braves last year, went to junior college. Rather than re-enter the draft this year, Stewart has signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League.
Jeff Passan of ESPN has the details on that deal: $7 million for six years. That’s five million more than the lowball offer the Braves gave him after drafting him last year and over $2 million more than he would’ve gotten if the Braves had paid him slot last year. This year he was projected to be a second round pick, Passan says, so his slot bonus would’ve been under $2 million.
As Passan notes, though, he has the chance to make out far better than that, though. That’s because his six-year deal would allow the now-19-year-old Stewart to come back to the U.S. as a 25-year-old free agent via the posting system. Passan does some back-of-the-envelope figuring, comparing what he’d make in the U.S. had he stayed vs. the $7 million he’s now guaranteed in Japan:
In a near-optimal scenario, Stewart would receive around $4 million for the next six years — and would not reach free agency until after the 2027 season, when he will be 28. His deal with the Hawks would guarantee Stewart $3 million more and potentially allow him to hit free agency three years earlier.
He could flame out, of course. The Braves’ lowball offer was based on concerns about his wrist. Even without that, there are no guarantees when young arms are involved.
But there is a $7 million guarantee for Stewart now, and the chance to do better than if he had stayed in the U.S. And the opportunity was created, in large part, by Major League Baseball’s clamping down on pay for draft picks and doing whatever it can to extend team control over players via service time manipulation. Stewart, and his agent Scott Boras, are merely exploiting an inefficiency in the market.