Swisher to visit teams, Jackson market developing
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.
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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.
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.