It looks like Christmas came early for Tribe fans. News broke Sunday morning that the Cleveland Indians have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Nick Swisher.
The two sides have agreed to a four-year deal that guarantees Swisher $56 million. The contract also includes a $14 million vesting option for 2017 based on Swisher’s plate appearances in 2016.
Swisher, 32, was a first-round pick in the 2002 amateur draft out of the Ohio State University and quickly gained fame after the story of the Athletics’ drafting him was chronicled in Moneyball. He hit .272/.364/.473 with 24 home runs, 93 RBI, and 3.9 fWAR for the Yankees in 2012, and owns a .256/.361/.467 batting line with 209 home runs, 673 RBI, and 26.3 fWAR across nine MLB seasons.
The Indians have been seriously connected to Swisher since the Winter Meetings and kicked their pursuit into high gear as he visited Cleveland this week. As recently as Saturday reports indicated that the Tribe had offered Swisher a four-year deal worth $52 million but Swisher preferred to go to New York or Los Angeles; presumably the vesting option and the extra $4 million in guaranteed money convinced him to sign with the Tribe.
First reaction: Great signing by the Indians, both for signing an impact player at a reasonable price and giving the fans exactly what they wanted.