Merry Swish-mas! Swisher agrees to deal with Indians
With Christmas two days away, talk about putting a little something big in the stockings of Indians fans.
The Cleveland Indians and free agent outfielder Nick Swisher have reportedly agreed to terms on a four year $56 million option. The contract also includes a vesting club option for 2017 for $14 million, which could bring the total contract to five years $70 million. He still has to take a physical for the deal to be official, which probably won't happen until after the holidays.
The Indians had been aggressively pursuing Swisher all offseason, and after they traded outfielder Shin-Soo Choo two weeks ago they really intensified their efforts to fill their void in right field with a very suitable external option. Swisher was their guy all along and while at times it looked like he was simply using them as leverage to get a deal elsewhere, the Indians remained steadfast and continued to try and work out a deal until both parties ultimately agreed to a deal today.
Swisher, 32, is a switch-hitter and hit .272 with 24 homers, 93 RBI, and .837 OPS in 148 games for the Yankees last season. He is a career .256 hitter with a career .828 OPS and has averaged over 25 homers and over 83 RBI the last eight seasons. He will be inserted into the middle of the Indians lineup and immediately upgrade a position of need.
Swisher replaces Choo who hit .283 with 16 HR, 67 RBI, and .815 OPS last year for the Indians. The numbers are similar for both players where Choo was a little more of a speed and on-base guy, while Swisher has more power. In any case, the Indians knew Choo was not going to return after the 2013 season, so they flipped him in a trade that netted them Trevor Bauer, Drew Stubbs, Bryan Shaw and Mitch Albers, and then more than adequately filled the position with Swisher who is now under control for at least another four years.
The Indians starting outfielder for 2013 now appears to be set with Swisher, Michael Brantley, and Drew Stubbs. It should be a notable improvement over last year's outfielder that primarly was Brantley, Choo and a combination of Jhonny Damon and Shelley Duncan.
In addition to paying Swisher at least $56 million the next four years, the Indians also lose their 2013 second round pick as compensation for the signing. But right now that does not matter as his signing should help bring hope to the fan base that the organization has indeed changed their ways and faith in the team can start to be restored.
Swisher is not a great player by any means, but he is a good, solid addition the team needed. He will energize the team on the field, and should help energize the fans as well. The Indians certainly overpaid, but in this day and age in free agency, this is the cost of doing business. If you want even an average player, you have to be prepared to overpay and back up the Brinks truck.
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.
Brandon, the outfield is improved. Offensively, it arguably may be the same, but that is if you think Stubbs has another down year. But defensively? Vast improvement. And speed? Big improvement going from Duncan to Stubbs who is a game changer on the bases.
Our outfield should produce similar results as last year. Hopefully Bauer can become an impact player because outside of him, our roster hasn't been significantly upgraded for the 2013 season.
Only 1m per yr more than Victorino and I'd take Swisher before him any day! Finally!
Hope the people who says Dolans cheap etc don't now say paid too much, you can't have it both ways.
Elliot, Albers a pitcher so don't think he'll solve your DH problem.
Done my Xmas shopping, sleep now as its 5am over here.
Merry Xmas all
Deep lineup. Balanced. 3 switch hitters in a row. Potential (7) 20 homer bats. 8 if LaPorta comes back. (Longshot). Lineup can compete with anymore.
Shy, great players get a lot more than $14 million a year. $14 million a year is good-but-not-great player money. This is what free agents cost. Compared to 3/39 for Victorino or 4/52 for Edwin Jackson, I think 4/56 for Swisher is a considerably better deal.