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Indians continue pursuit of Swisher, likely to visit tonight

Indians continue pursuit of Swisher, likely to visit tonight
December 17, 2012
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The Indians have been talking to free agent outfielder Nick Swisher for several weeks now, and today they reportedly have intensified what was already a very aggressive pursuit. According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Indians “are making a push in their effort to sign Swisher”.

The Indians tried to get Swisher to sign last week, but he put off making a decision in order to wait for the market to pick up for him after the Hamilton signing. His patience has likely paid off as he will probably get a much better deal than he anticipated this offseason.

Swisher, 32, hit .272 with 24 homers, 93 RBI and .837 OPS in 148 games with the Yankees last season. With the recent trade of outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds, the Indians are actively pursuing options to fill a glaring hole in right field. Swisher is the best option available in free agency and someone that the Indians have identified as a top target. He is a player the Indians have taken an aggressive approach with in contract negotiations, possibly similar to the negotiations for outfielder Shane Victorino who ended up declining their four year $44 million offer in order to sign with the Red Sox for three years $39 million.

Swisher was expected to come to town on Tuesday or Wednesday and speak face to face with the organization; however, according to Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 he has heard he will be in town tonight and will have dinner with Mark Shapiro and other Indians personnel. He along with his agent will likely not only continue to discuss the parameters of a contract, but he probably wants to get an idea of what the Indians plans are going forward and if he can win with the Indians.

The Indians have not simply just talked to Swisher and offered him a deal to get their names in the headlines in order to sound like they are doing something. For Swisher to come to town for a visit implies that the Indians are very serious in their offer to sign him, and he is very much considering him.

But no matter what the Indians say or offer, Swisher is expected to leave town without a deal and visit other teams that are also pursuing him. There has been no mention where else he may visit or when, but three other teams said to be interested in him are the Mariners, Rangers and Red Sox. Considering he is visiting teams this week it looks like he wants to make a decision on who to sign with this weekend in advance of the Christmas holiday.

The Rangers appear to be the biggest threat to the Indians as they lost outfielder Josh Hamilton last week to the Angels and have lost several other players this offseason, so they will probably look to make a splash and bring in a player that can help offset some of the offense lost by Hamilton’s departure. The Rangers have a need and have a much deeper wallet than the Indians, which is why no matter how hard the Indians pursue Swisher, the Rangers still appear to be his likely landing spot.  The Red Sox interest appears to be limited, but could change if the Mike Napoli deal does not go through.

Unfortunately, in the end, Swisher may just use the Indians to drive up the price for the Rangers before he signs with them since they have a better chance of winning.  But whether or not he signs with the Indians, they have been very aggressive in trying to sign him and other free agents, and they will continue to do so with or without him.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

December 18, 2012 - 9:21 PM EST
Going to disagree with you Shy. While I agree that he is not worth the money and alone is not the difference to them making the playoffs, I think he helps the team not only some on the field, but off it as well. The Indians NEED to make a significant signing to improve their tarnished reputation in the industry and with the fans. It won't fix it all and heal everything in one fell swoop, but it would be a really good start.
December 18, 2012 - 12:53 AM EST
Shy, I'm at dinner with Shapiro, Swisher and Dolan's dog. The dog just humped Swisher's leg and Shapiro threw out a 4yr 60M offer. Seriously though, the market is out of hand and if I were running the organization I don't think I could pull the trigger on Swisher or Jackson at this point for the numbers I'm hearing.
December 18, 2012 - 12:28 AM EST
I think Timmy nailed it. Having seen him play for years in Oakland and partied with him, and watched him meltdown at the end of last season, and knowing that his best days, such as they were, are behind him, I say there is no way anybody in their right mind that is trying to rebuild a team signs him for 3-4 yrs and 40-50mil. If they had a Nick Swisher in left, right and center, this team still doesn't make the playoffs. It's stupid. And it's one of those mistakes that will haunt you more and more as time goes on. Does anyone know where Shapiro is taking him to dinner? I loved Shapiro's comment about if what you mainly care about is winning, then you're not a good fan and we don't need you. Do you think he will tell Swisher if all he cares about is guaranteed money year after year then he's not a good player and we don't want him ? I think Paul Dolan's dog should be president and see how Shapiro does on the open market. Before any free agent is signed they must meet the dog. If he pisses on them they're out. If he sniffs their crotch, they get league minimum plus incentives, if he licks their face they get signed for a coupla years and a coupla million. That's it. No exceptions. If you want more than 2 yrs and 2 mil don't get off the bus here.
December 17, 2012 - 9:29 PM EST
swisher i a nice get if we can somehow do it. He is gonna get a lot of money prolly more than he is worth but it is a sellers market out there. Swisher has great pedigree and track record and would fit nicely in the indian lineup but 4 yrs may be a year too long considering how many young talented kids (paulino) ready. I know he is a short stop however he has shortstop arm which adds to the overall defense in right field.I doubt very seriously whether he will not be moved to right field havinga short stop arm leads the fan to believe he could be a weapon in right field. and what a bat he has and he surely will someday be 200#'s which should turn him into an animal with a bat.but as long as he produces we can trade him and his track record is that he stays healthy. I am a big believer that professional athletes who have history of injuries whether as minor leaguer, early in major league career, or an ameteur, evidence irving of the cavs seems to get hurt repeatedly, and football players do as well. show me a player injured a lot in college ill show you injury prone in the pros. evidence jason williams, injured a lot at michigan and the colts couldnt keep him healthy. so i agree going after swisher if the money is reasonable.
December 17, 2012 - 6:56 PM EST
I think the key in all of this will be what the rangers truly look to add. A corner outfielder that can play some first base and helps offset loss of Hamilton? Or, do they go strongly after Michael Bourn to fill what might be a bigger need in CF and at the top of their lineup? Or are they so pissed with the loss of Hamilton that they just sign both swisher and Bourn? Will be interesting to find out.
December 17, 2012 - 6:37 PM EST
Circa 2012
December 17, 2012 - 6:34 PM EST
Y can't (texas) they copy San Francisco and have Ryan theriot b the biggest signing
December 17, 2012 - 3:42 PM EST
If Texas is seriously interested, I imagine the Indians' chances are about nil. I don't necessarily get the Texas interest though. Wouldn't the Rangers be looking more for a centerfielder? I would think Bourn would now be a natural target for Texas. I could see where they could sign both Swisher and Bourn, since they could use Swisher's bat somewhere. But either they have an outfield of Swisher, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy, or they sign Bourn and Swisher, and pay Swisher $60+ million for a DH/part-time outfielder/1b?
Tim Lincecum
December 17, 2012 - 3:13 PM EST
How many bowls did he smoke before this picture? Nice eyes brah!!

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