Nick Swisher has confirmed on Twitter that he has agreed to sign with the Cleveland Indians. Right now, it is only speculated that the contract is for four years and $56 million with a $14 million option at the end that will be a vesting option giving the contract the potential to be a five-year, $70 million deal.
On Sunday morning, Swisher tweeted, “Wow! What a crazy few weeks. Hey Cleveland! Are you ready? Because I’m coming home! #RollTribe.” It had been long speculated that Swisher was being pursued by the Indians and he is originally from Ohio, having attended Ohio State before being drafted by the Oakland Athletics.
Swisher entered this off-season rumored to be wanting a deal similar to what Jayson Werth received two years ago from the Washington Nationals. That market didn’t materialize in terms of length and overall money but Swisher certainly can’t be upset at his current deal.
The Indians had traded Shin-Soo Choo a couple of weeks ago and needed a bat to replace his in the lineup and a glove to plug into right field. The Indians needed to make a splash in free agency after trading Choo and they got it in Swisher who hit .272 with 24 homers and drove in 93 runs in only 148 runs.
Swisher will join Drew Stubbs and Mark Reynolds in an attempt to revamp the Indians offense that sputtered last season, resulting in a 68-94 season.
Adding Swisher was a decent value, especially considering what Swisher was looking for heading into the off-season. However, the Indians are still a few years away from contending and adding a 32-year-old outfielder to a five-year contract doesn’t make much sense in the long run with the exception that Swisher is a local kid which might draw some fans to the ballpark.
By the time the Indians are ready to contend, Swisher will be entering the twilight of his career. He is already 32 and will be 36 in the fifth year of his contract. It isn’t terrible but I’m not sure how much sense it makes to invest $70 million in a 32-year-old given Cleveland’s history of penny-pinching.
It isn’t a terrible contract but it makes little sense for a team like Cleveland and given their long-term focus but it won’t kill them either so that makes it a win for Cleveland, especially when coupled with the acquisition of Drew Stubbs and Trevor Bauer last week.