The Cleveland Indians have signed outfielder Nick Swisher to a four-year, $56 million contract. The deal also includes a $14 million vesting option for a fifth year. The deal with the Indians will cost Cleveland their second round draft pick in the 2013 draft.
Reggie Von Bartles
Hot Stove: Nick Swisher Signs With Cleveland
Sunday December 23rd, 2012
Swisher, 32, hit .272/.364/.473 with 24 home runs for the New York Yankees in 2012. In four seasons with the New York Yankees, Swisher appeared in 598 games, posted a .367 on-base percentage, and hit a total of 105 home runs.
According to FanGraphs.com, Swisher was worth 3.9 fWAR (Wins Above Replacement) last season in 148 games. Over the past three seasons, Swisher has combined to create 11.9 fWAR.
Although Swisher has posted more 3 wins above replacements in each of the past four seasons, he's an aging veteran who plays a corner outfield position. He's just cracking more than 20 home runs, and has never shown elite offensive skills. However, his defense in right field and on-base skills made him an attractive option in the free-agent market. At an average annual value of approximately $14 million, the deal could hurt the Indians in the later stages of the contract, when Swisher is 36-years-old.
Besides trading Shin-Soo Choo to the Cincinnati Reds as part of a three-way trade with the Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks, the team also signed first baseman Mark Reynolds. Here's how the Indians lineup on Opening Day 2013 could look:
With the American League Central "open" for the winning, the Indians lineup doesn't look half bad - at least the first part looks good. There are some question marks near the bottom with the DH and third base. However, the Indians could also use Drew Stubbs near the top of the order (like he was in Cincinnati) - but I suspect he'll be near the bottom.
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