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Swisher to visit teams, Jackson market developing

Swisher to visit teams, Jackson market developing
December 15, 2012
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According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, free agent outfielder Nick Swisher will visit multiple teams in person next week. The Indians have been his most aggressive suitor for some time, but he has put off signing with them because he wanted to see what kind of market developed once free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton signed.

Hamilton signed with the Angels on Thursday, and that has resulted in a shift in the free agent spotlight to Swisher as he is now considered the top bat available. The Indians are still very much interested, but the Rangers and Mariners are expected to be in the mix after they both lost out on Hamilton. Also, the Red Sox may jump into the mix if the signing of Mike Napoli falls through.

The Indians have reportedly offered Swisher a four year contract in the neighborhood of $50 million or above. He is said to be looking for a four year deal $60 million deal, which would pay him an average of $15 million a season. That seems kind of rich for the Indians blood, but they have shown this offseason that they are taking a much more aggressive approach in free agency and they are expected to stay in it until the end unless they get some kind of indication directly from Swisher's camp that he does not intend to sign with them.

After the Indians traded right-fielder Shin-Soo Choo on Tuesday night in a three-team nine player deal that netted the Indians four players, they now have a big vacancy in right field that they need to fill from outside the organization. They currently do not have an everyday option internally to fill the void, which is why they are pursuing Swisher so aggressively and why others like Cody Ross and Alfonso Soriano could be on the backburner as options.

Swisher, who just turned 32-years old last month, hit .272 with 24 homers, 93 RBI, and .837 OPS in 148 games with the Yankees last season. The Indians are attracted to his consistency, durability, and performance over the last eight seasons (18.3 WAR during that period) and believe he would be a good fit in right field and also be an option at first base from time to time. He is a switch-hitter, so he would provide another option for them in their quest to provide more balance to the lineup this coming season after it was so left-handed heavy last season.

On the pitching front, right-hander Edwin Jackson is another player the Indians are very aggressively pursuing. Over the past five seasons he has proven to be a reliable, durable starter that hauls innings as he has averaged 199 innings pitched over the last five seasons and had solid to very good peripheral numbers. Last season with the Nationals he went 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA, and in 189.2 innings he had a 1.22 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, and 8.0 K/9.

With the Tigers signing right-hander Anibal Sanchez on Friday, the market spotlight on the pitching front is expected to now focus on Jackson. Pitching is proving to be very expensive to sign this offseason and cost a lot to acquire in trades. With Sanchez signing for five years and $80 million, it may now take a deal of about four years and $56 million or maybe even five years and $70 million – maybe even more – to sign Jackson. It will be interesting to see how long the Indians stay in the mix to sign Jackson, but they really want a veteran pitcher to anchor the middle of their rotation and he is an ideal fit for them.

The Indians are not just focused on Swisher and Jackson as they continue to talk to many other free agents and discuss trade possibilities with other clubs. The Indians still have a valuable trade chip in shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera that they could still play at some point this offseason to acquire more young high upside Major League ready starting pitching and potentially a Major League ready bat. Right-handed closer Chris Perez is also a possibility in a trade, but the interest in him at the moment remains cool.

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

Mike
December 17, 2012 - 11:04 AM EST
A Masterson for Trumbo and Richards trade would sound really great right about now!
Tony
December 15, 2012 - 5:48 PM EST
Eric, when is the last time the Indians offered a free agent a four year deal? Only guy they have ever even signed for more than three years in the Progressive Field era is Alomar, though I admit I am pulling off of memory and there may be someone I forgot (Burks?). In any case, they have now offered four year or more deals to three players this offseason, and lots of multi-year deals to others. This is a sizable change to past practices where they looked for one year deals in the garbage dump. Sure, they have yet to sign anyone, but then again that is completely out of their control as they can't make a player sign with them. You gotta walk before you can run.
Tony
December 15, 2012 - 5:44 PM EST
Joe, while I mostly agree, I think it is important to land a significant free agent not necessarily to take them to the postseason, but to change the perception of this team among fans and other agents/players. Until the Indians get a big time signing, no one is going to believe they can or will, and no agent or player will seriously consider signing here in the future. So in a way, while it goes against my way of thinking, I am hopeful they go overboard and sign someone to a sizable deal and make a "dumb" signing as far as money goes. I know that in its self sounds dumb, but I think even though a player may bomb or not work out, the most important acqusitiion would be the seeds being planted to gaining the faith and hope back from the fans.
troy
December 15, 2012 - 3:08 PM EST
can we just move on from the Swisher talks? Tribe fans realize Swisher has no intentions of signing here. He is just using the team to drive up his salary demands
brian
December 15, 2012 - 3:07 PM EST
Eric,

The Indians have basically put 75,000 dollar bids on 50,000 dollar cars, someone has just bid higher. Were putting out great offers, but being on a winning team or in a big city is worth to much for cleveland to trump. They're trying though, and it is nice to see.

There is a thin line between being aggressive and stupid. They have done a good job of not crossing that line yet this offseason.
Eric
December 15, 2012 - 12:34 PM EST
"...but they have shown this offseason that they are taking a much more aggressive approach in free agency..."

How are they being aggressive? Did I miss some signings? That's like saying I'm financially aggressive because I take a Mercedes for a test drive.
Roger
December 15, 2012 - 10:22 AM EST
Joe or tony on the old 20 to 80 scale that they refer to prospect what is ross"s arm in right field. I like the choo deal but it was fun to watch teams try to run on choo's arm. after awile they didnt even try. I like having a weapon like that in rf. does ross have that kind of arm? As for jurijens i know him and do like him and if i remember he is from the netherland antilles. sometimes latin pitchers get to up and down emotionally. I dont think antelles is considered latin i think more european.
Joe
December 15, 2012 - 9:32 AM EST
Forget about Jackson and Swisher. They will not take us to post season. Way too much money for these two. Target Ross and Jurjiens now. I just think the money is ridiculous for Swisher and Jackson. We can use those $$ elsewhere. Easily. They are playing the market and driving the price up. Know when to fold them !
Roger
December 15, 2012 - 9:26 AM EST
to paraphrase charles dickens "it was the best of times versus the worst of times" or something like that two cities a lot of which are urban blight. Living here outside of Toledo i visit both detroit and cleveland and can see the similarities of the two cities, What isnt similar is the attitude of the two baseball teams. After signing Anabel Sanchez the tigers now have about 100 million a year tied up on just six players Cab, fielder veland, vmart, and sanchez. I am not even sure the indians entire budget players, coaches front office etc is that much. and frankly i think the money is beyond insane that atheletes get but that must be the market. As for jackson and swisher. If i am gonna make either a 14 or 15 million dollar investment i prefer it to be swisher. Like I have said before there has to be a reason for 6 teams in 6 yrs for jackson. As for a number 1 started or anchor of staff, maybe masterson can be that guy. He did have his off season conditioning routine disrupted between the 2011 and 2012 season by surgery and that may have contrubuted to mediocre 2012. Who knows also about carrasco, he was a top 20 prospect with the phillies with an injured elbow so maybe he can anchor the staff. I would take my chances of masty or carlos ahead of the much traveled edwin jackson. So if they want to spend mid teen money on one player make it spent on swisher. As for an addl starter ogando from the rangers may be a doable trade. They seem to have a bullpen of flame thrower and smith would be a change of pace. I think the trade makes sense. Best wishes to staff at IPI and readers and fellow tribe fans a great holiday season.

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