On Sunday, Joel Sherman of the NY Post wrote about how the Yankees MUST sign Carlos Beltran this offseason. This is a very dumb idea. Here’s why.

Sherman says that he expects Beltran to command a deal of at least $42 million over 3 years, so presumably, the Yankees would have to pay more to ensure his signing.

Now, Beltran is a very good hitting right fielder. However, the Yankees already have a $10.25 club option for Nick Swisher that they could just pick up. At first, Sherman suggests that the Yankee pick up Swish’s option, and then Girardi would rotate Beltran, Swisher, Gardner, and Montero in three spots (LF, RF, & DH). Great, so the Yankees should spend $42 million for the right to sit an above-average player every game. This makes no sense at all.

Recognizing his own confusion, Sherman next recommends that the Yankees don’t pick up Swisher’s option and sign Beltran, because as he says in his article, the former Met is a “flat-out better hitter.

When healthy, Beltran is indeed a better hitter. But consider the all following mitigating factors:

1) Beltran is a career .372 wOBA hitter. The last three seasons, Swisher has posted wOBAs of .358, .377, and .375. It’s much closer than Sherman is led to believe by their divergent batting averages.

2) Beltran will be 35 next season. Swisher will be 32. Beltran is entering the part of the age curve that begins to decline steeply, whereas we would expect Swisher to maintain more of his 2011 talent level. This makes the hitting comparison even closer.

3) At 35, Beltran will have to fend off more injuries on top of serious medical issue that his knees already present. Beltran managed 142 games in his walk year, but played in only 64 and 81 games the prior two years. Swish, on the other hand, has been a reliable, injury-free, workhorse. He has appeared in at least 150 games each of the past 6 seasons.

4) Swisher is the better fielder. Beltran’s knees have severely limited him in the field the last three years, culminating in a -9.2 UZR/150 in 2011. Swisher meanwhile posted a career best 8.8+ UZR/150.

In fairness to Sherman, Carlos Beltran does have the higher upside. However, in Nick Swisher, the Yankees have a reliable asset that projects to have a similar median value next year. Swisher’s $10.25 million option is less than he’s worth. Why commit to the much riskier player for three years at a higher AAV when you can have Swisher for less than market value and only commit to one year? Stick with Swish.