Indians making their push to sign Swisher
By Jordan Bastian / 12/17/12 4:04 PM ET
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have a hole to fill in right field and the ballclub believes free-agent outfielder Nick Swisher offers the solution. Cleveland is in the midst of making a serious push to convince Swisher to call Progressive Field home.
According to a source, Swisher will be in Cleveland Monday night and he will spend Tuesday touring the club's facilities and listening to the organization's pitch. Following last week's three-team, nine-player trade that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds, the Indians can offer Swisher the full-time role in right field.
The Indians have spent much of this offseason courting Swisher, who entered a strong winter market for outfielders. Lucrative deals have already been dished out to the likes of Josh Hamilton (Angels), B.J. Upton (Braves), Angel Pagan (Giants), Torii Hunter (Tigers), Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays) and Shane Victorino (Red Sox), among others.
The Indians offered Victorino a four-year contract worth $44 million before he opted for a three-year, $39 million deal with Boston. That offer showed that Cleveland has some flexibility to spend on the open market this winter -- a fact that would likely net Swisher a four-year offer, as well.
Last week, free-agent first baseman Mark Reynolds agreed to a one-year contract worth $6 million plus incentives to play for the Indians. Reynolds has since passed his physical, but the team has not officially announced the deal, which requires the Tribe to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Also last week, Cleveland traded away Choo in a blockbuster deal that helped the Tribe acquire pitching prospect Trevor Bauer and relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from the D-backs, and outfielder Drew Stubbs from the Reds. As things currently stand, Stubbs and Michael Brantley project to occupy two of the Indians' outfield spots.
Swisher would potentially complete the outfield picture.
Throughout this winter, the 32-year-old Swisher -- a product of Ohio State University -- has also been linked to the Mariners, Phillies, Red Sox, Giants and Orioles in various reports. Cleveland has been the one club to consistently come up as having strong interest.
Last season, the switch-hitting Swisher hit .272 with 24 homers, 36 doubles and 93 RBIs in 148 games for the Yankees. He also posted a .364 on-base percentage and a .473 slugging percentage. Swisher has hit at least 23 home runs in five straight seasons and he has collected at least 80 RBIs four years in a row.