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Swisher, Jackson market heats up

Swisher, Jackson market heats up
December 13, 2012
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With the Angels signing outfielder Josh Hamilton, the Red Sox signing right-handed pitcher Ryan Dempster, and the Cubs or Tigers nearing a deal with right-handed pitcher Anibal Sanchez, the market spotlight has suddenly shifted to two prime Indians free agent targets: outfielder Nick Swisher and right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson.

Now that Hamilton has signed it is expected to loosen up the market for the remaining top hitters available in free agency such as Swisher, Cody Ross and Adam LaRoche. The Indians have been a heavy suitor for Swisher for well over a week and long considered the best landing spot for him, that is, until Hamilton signed with the Angels today.

Both the Rangers and Mariners heavily pursued Hamilton, and now that they have been left in the cold they could turn to the next best available hitter on the market in Swisher or outfielder Michael Bourn. This is not good news for the Indians as they have aggressively pushed for a deal for about a week but he has avoided signing simply because he wanted to wait for the Hamilton aftermath so more teams would enter the bidding and improve his market. The Rangers may now be his most likely landing spot.

There are concerns of whether or not Swisher is even interested in the Indians and is simply just using them to drive up his price. Had the Yankees, Giants or someone else offered what the Indians already have – reportedly a four year deal for somewhere between $50-60 million – he might have signed already. He likes the bigger stage and wants to win, so the Indians may not be the best fit for him no matter how much money they offer him.

If the Indians lose out on Swisher, then they could move onto Ross who is not as big a name but may impact the team in close the same way. He may be an easier sign, though there will be other suitors as well that the Indians will have to deal with, so it could be a situation where they have to overpay to sign him.

The Indians do not have any internal options to suitably fill their right field void, so they need to fill the position externally. If the Indians strikeout on both Swisher and Ross in free agency, perhaps they look to the Cubs and try to make a deal for outfielder Alfonso Soriano. They talked to the Cubs about him over the summer and were active in trade talks to acquire him up until the July 31st deadline.

On the pitching front, Jackson may be a more realistic signing than Swisher. With Sanchez reportedly getting a five year deal for $75 million or more tonight, it may mean a three or four year deal for about $11 to $12 million per year would be required to sign him. The Indians have the money to do that and have been aggressive with similar contracts this offseason, so again, it could come down to the preference of the player to sign with them or not.

If the Indians miss out on Jackson they will move onto other options in free agency. They would like to add a veteran starting pitcher through free agency, and another option could be someone like right-handers Jair Jurrjens or Brett Myers. These would obviously be lesser options than the more stable Jackson, so the Indians may put their best efforts forward to sign him because they really want someone in the middle of the rotation that is reliable, durable and could impact the team.

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 14, 2012 - 2:17 PM EST
I'd rather take the same money Swisher would get and use it to get TWO outfielders for same price or less. Definitely less years. I'd try to sign both Ross and Hairston and have a four man outfield rotation of Brantley, Ross, Hairston and Stubbs. Use Carrera as fifth outfielder/pinch runner.
December 14, 2012 - 11:46 AM EST
Oscar Taveras is rated in top ten out 100 top prospects in the major league prospects. Taveras , miler, and Martinez would be a great deal for cabrera. Rather pay big money for swisher and jackson, and I would just deal cabrera for 3 top prospects
December 14, 2012 - 10:37 AM EST
I agree give Swisher a deadline and then go for Ross. Same with Jackson. The Indians aren't the only team being used to jack up player salary. I think the Rangers re: Greinke and Hamilton are also. Hamilton was quoted early on as saying it was time to move on. Team need to give players a deadline once they make an offer - three to five days - and then both need to move on, if the offer is not accepted.
December 14, 2012 - 8:53 AM EST
Trout, Pujols, & Hamilton together might make the Angels fans feel like we did with the '95 team. Of course, I think the '95 team was better because they were either entering or in their prime. Hamilton & Pujols are sliding down the hill.

When you look at it like that you realize how blessed we were. Three sure HOFers in that lineup & that doesn't include the best hitter. Amazing.
December 14, 2012 - 7:44 AM EST
i agree with joe go for jurijens and ross. Ross on a two year deal. He has plus arm which we need in RF, by 2015 one or more of the good kids could be ready if more than one is SS then make the transition to rf, if a natural ss with offensive tools the arm is a given, that way the ross contract is up. As for swisher i like him but not for 4 yrs and after the hamilton deal he is in the catboard seat to get his demands met and our kids who i think are numerous and talented may be just starting to ripen to major league stars.. for the same amount we were offering Youk and victorino or close to it. Seperate and aside my god what a trio in anaheim with trout pujois and hamilton holy moly what a combo.
December 14, 2012 - 4:05 AM EST
If the Tribe could get A young pitcher like Lance Lynn straight up for Cabrera, I would do it. While he is good at his position, we can find replacements that do similar, especially if we can upgrade our offense with other options. Trade a shortstop who many feel is out of position there for a young starting pitcher who won 18 games in his first full season and came out of the bullpen for 6 of his 35 games is a win in my book. If we can get another player as well, even better.

Take the hypothetical Lance Lynn for Cabrera trade, our rotation would look something like Masterson, Jimenez, Lynn, Bauer and McCallister or Carrasco. Not great but if Masterson or Jimenez return to prior form, or even both, then we could have a solid rotation.

December 14, 2012 - 1:38 AM EST
There's no way I would give Ross more than a 2-year deal. First of all, he's not that good, albeit a definite improvement in our lineup (which isn't saying much) secondly, he's 32. I wouldn't want to be on the hook for him at age 35.
December 13, 2012 - 11:25 PM EST
Cabrera to ST. Louis for Selby miller no.1 pitching prospect, Oscar of and MARTINEZ no.3 pitching prospect.
December 13, 2012 - 8:23 PM EST
Sorry. I am so pis*ed I can't talk or think straight. Scratch one of the prices. Thx.
December 13, 2012 - 8:20 PM EST
Go after Jurijens and Ross now. Swisher and Jackson will move elsewhere. I'm tired of the Indians being used by agents to drive up the price of their players prices. This is the result of poor front office management over the last several years with their poor signings and trades. We are forced to overpay, and it is used against us. Thanks Dolan and Shapiro. You put us in this mess,and now you must reap what you have sewn.
December 13, 2012 - 8:12 PM EST
The Tribe should revisit the ACab for Lance Lynn & Matt Adams deal. Could throw in a bullpen arm for another young SP like Tyrel Jenkins / John Gast.
rick manning
December 13, 2012 - 7:58 PM EST
Perez, yes. A-cab no.
matt underwood
December 13, 2012 - 7:33 PM EST
I'd try to trade AsdroCab and Perez still

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