Tag: Nick Swisher

Nick Swisher to Yankees: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Nick Swisher has fallen on hard times over the last two years, but the former All-Star is getting another chance to revive his career by returning to the New York Yankees

Per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Swisher’s minor league deal with the Yankees is official, and he will report to Triple-A Scranton on Thursday. 

Since playing 145 games for the Cleveland Indians in 2013, Swisher has missed 151 games the past two years due to knee injuries. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in August, appearing in 46 games and hitting .195/.349/.339. 

Since the Braves have undertaken a massive rebuilding effort, the team released Swisher one week before Opening Day and with $15 million left on his contract.

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman that if Swisher is “with an American League team, he fits. But it would have been tough to get at-bats for him here.”

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard something similar from a rival general manager coming out of spring training:

While there is not a lot of recent success at the MLB level for Swisher, there was a time when he was one of the most consistent hitters for years, per Baseball-Reference.com:

There’s an inherent risk the Yankees are taking in signing Swisher, because he has to prove his knees are capable of handling the grind of playing 162 games. The 35-year-old used to be one of MLB’s most durable players, as he appeared in at least 145 games every season from 2006-13. 

However, because the Yankees only gave Swisher a minor league deal, the team can cut bait easily if things don’t work out.

Age has certainly caught up to Swisher, though he was at least healthy enough to play in 17 games during spring training before being released. He’s got to be in a situation that doesn’t ask him to use his legs often, either as a first baseman who gets one day off each week or as a full-time designated hitter. 

The Yankees have plenty of those types of players already with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, but Teixeira missed 237 games the previous three seasons, and Beltran didn’t play more than 133 games in either of his first two seasons in New York.

If Swisher is able to stay on the field, he will be able to provide a solid on-base percentage because of his patience in the batter’s box. There won’t be much power because his legs aren’t as strong as they once were, but teams will always take a chance on someone who takes good at-bats and gets on base. 

Swisher’s best seasons came as a member of the Yankees from 2009-12, so it’s no surprise he would hope to revive his career wearing pinstripes. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Nick Swisher Released by Braves: Latest Comments and Reaction

The Atlanta Braves reportedly released veteran outfielder Nick Swisher on Monday, per Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi and Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.

Swisher is owed $15 million for the 2016 season, a portion of which will be covered by the Cleveland Indians as part of the trade that sent him and outfielder Michael Bourn to Atlanta. Passan reported last August that Cleveland gave Atlanta $10 million to pay down Bourn’s and Swisher’s salaries.

While the Braves will be eating some money in order to part ways with the 35-year-old, his departure makes sense. Atlanta has spent the last few years selling off almost all of its most prized major league assets, including outfielders Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, closer Craig Kimbrel and starting pitcher Shelby Miller, whom it acquired in the Heyward deal.

The front office is building a team that will be competitive in a few years rather than in the present. Swisher doesn’t fit into those plans.

In addition, Swisher has gone from being one of the more dangerous switch-hitters in the league to an offensive liability. Injuries and the aging curve have done a number on the 2010 All-Star. In the last two years, he played a combined 173 games, and his production cratered as a result, per FanGraphs:

Speaking in February, Swisher was optimistic about this season since his knees are fully healthy for the first time in a few years:

In 42 at-bats this spring, he’s hitting .238 with four runs batted in. Even at 100 percent, Swisher may not have much left in the tank, and teams looking to add a something of a veteran mentor to the roster might hesitate to sign him given the way his time with the Cleveland Indians ended, per Cleveland.com’s Zack Meisel:

Not all teammates shed a tear when Swisher packed up his belongings and jetted to Georgia. His relentless enthusiasm wore on members of the clubhouse and the fan base, as they longed for numbers in his stat line worthy of those on his paychecks.

The energy and over-the-top bubbly attitude helped eliminate any lasting effects from a defeated team that amassed a 68-94 mark in 2012. When his performance went south, however, his insistence on being the club’s commander and cheerleader didn’t carry much weight.

With that said, it wouldn’t be a major surprise if a team in win-now mode took a chance on Swisher in the hopes he could provide some benefit—whether tangible in terms of on-field performance or more nebulous with regard to clubhouse chemistry.

The Braves, meanwhile, may not be done with their roster reshuffle. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported on March 24 the team is looking to also move Bourn. Atlanta eventually released Swisher after failing to find a trade partner, and the same may happen to Bourn as well.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Making Sense of Atlanta Braves’ Strange Trade for Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn

The Atlanta Braves making a headline-grabbing trade? After all they’ve done in the last few months, odds are you’re not surprised to hear that.

Rather, if you’re surprised by anything, it’s the nature of the Braves’ latest swap.

Buzz began to build Friday afternoon that Atlanta was nearing a deal with the Cleveland Indians that would net it All-Stars-turned-duds Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. Eventually, that buzz led to a trade that looks like this:

If nothing else, this is our first big reminder that, yes, big-ticket deals can still go down after the passing of the July 31 deadline. That’s thanks to MLB‘s waivers system. ‘Tis a complicated affair, but it can get things done all the same.

Beyond that, though, it takes some mental gymnastics to get a grip on this deal.

It makes sense that the Indians would want a player like Johnson. He’s having a lousy year with a .235 average and a .592 OPS. But one thing he’s continued to do in 2015 is hit left-handers well with a .747 OPS. Given his track record in that department, it’s possible the Indians have it in mind to solve their third-base conundrum with a Johnson/Lonnie Chisenhall platoon. Apart from that, trading two players for one allows the Indians to free up a roster space, which is always good.

But where things get interesting, of course, is why the Braves, of all teams, would want to take on the two players in question. Given the particulars, however, their end of the deal also makes sense.

Above all, it’s the contract swap that wouldn’t seem to make sense for Atlanta at first. The Braves now owe Bourn and Swisher a combined $29 million in 2016, whereas Cleveland owes Johnson a minimum of $17.5 million between 2016 and 2017, should the team choose to decline his $10 million option for 2018.

Why would the Braves want to take on more money?

This is where the cash considerations come into play. As Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported, the Indians are kicking in over $10 million to the deal:

If so, the contract swap is basically a wash. Rather than paying Johnson $17.5 million in 2016 and 2017, the Braves will be giving $19 million to Swisher and Bourn in 2016.

The bad news? Atlanta will have less payroll flexibility for its 2016 roster.

The good news? The Braves will have increased payroll flexibility for their 2017 roster, which is part of their ultimate goal. Atlanta will be moving into its new home, SunTrust Park, in 2017, and it’s widely expected that the team is going to do its darnedest to put a winner on the field that year. To that end, having extra payroll flexibility will certainly help.

Mind you, there’s a chance that the Braves’ best-laid plans will be ruined by Swisher and Bourn triggering their vesting options for 2017, in which case Atlanta would be on the hook to pay them $26 million combined. But as Chris Cotillo of SB Nation noted, that’s unlikely to happen:

As much as anything, recent history is a strong indicator that neither Swisher nor Bourn will make it to 550 plate appearances in 2016. Due to a combination of injuries and age—Bourn is 32, and Swisher is 34—both are going to fall well short of 550 trips to the batter’s box for a second straight year in 2015.

But even if Swisher and Bourn find themselves on track for 550 plate appearances next season, that could be welcome news for the Braves. The two veterans are not going to find themselves in such a position unless they’re reasonably healthy and productive, and that’s something the Braves could take advantage of.

He’s been going about it in a unique way, but one thing John Hart has made clear since Atlanta named him its president of baseball operations last fall is that he means to stock the club with as much controllable talent as he can get his hands on. To do so, he’s notably traded Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, Craig Kimbrel and Alex Wood since last winter.

And if Hart has his way, both Swisher and Bourn would be next.

Right now, neither Swisher nor Bourn has the trade value required to land young talent. Swisher has OPS’d just .597 since the start of 2014 and is currently on the shelf with knee troubles. Injuries also limited him to 97 games in 2014. Bourn has had issues with injuries throughout the last two seasons as well, and he has struggled with a .648 OPS and only 23 stolen bases in the process.

But at the same time, the Braves know as well as anyone that a healthy Swisher is a good hitter. He showed as much when he OPS’d .763 with 22 home runs in what was a “down” season in 2013. And as it happens, Bourn is showing right now that he’s also a good player when he’s right, as he’s hitting .360 with an .827 OPS since the All-Star break.

Or, if you prefer the sales pitch that Hart gave to Kevin McAlpin of Braves Radio Network: “We’re getting winning players with good makeups. They play the game the right way. I think these guys will fit what it is we’re doing.”

Admittedly, there’s a chance that neither Swisher nor Bourn will rescue his trade value enough for the Braves to get anything for them in 2016. But if nothing else, Atlanta is better off wagering on two guys with strong track records turning it around next season than it would have been wagering on one guy without a strong track record (Johnson) doing so. 

If it works out, great. The Braves will then have two veterans on their hands whom they can deal for more controllable talent.

If it doesn’t work out? Oh well. At least Atlanta will still be getting that 2017 payroll flexibility no matter what.

It’s hard to say that the Braves have made a brilliant move. But since they’re shedding some future payroll while taking on a couple of potentially valuable reclamation projects, they’re at least making a worthwhile gamble.

This may be one of the stranger deals you’re ever going to see, but it’s a sensible one.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Trade Buzz Surrounding Ben Zobrist, Nick Swisher and More

There’s usually a lull in the MLB offseason during the holidays, but expect the peace and quiet to come to an end once the calendar turns to 2015. There’s still wheeling and dealing to be done.

For now, it seems as if even the MLB trade rumors have taken a backseat to eggnog and caroling. The few we do have focus on players with the ability to play the outfield.

The free-agent market for outfielders is mostly depleted, with options like Nori Aoki, Colby Rasmus and Mike Carp representing the best players left available for teams to bid on. Naturally, it’s not a surprise that teams searching for outfield help have turned their attention to the trade market.

Teams still have some time to make upgrades before spring training, but they better act fast. If they wait, then the best options will be gone.

Below are the latest rumors on some of the more intriguing outfielders available.


Ben Zobrist

Traditionally a second baseman or shortstop, Ben Zobrist has played over 400 career games in the outfield. He can play any position on the field except catcher, and that makes him one of the more invaluable players in the sport.

So how can the Tampa Bay Rays justify dealing him away?

Nothing is imminent yet, but Peter Gammons reports that several general managers have told him that the San Francisco Giants will eventually trade a package of prospects for the versatile veteran.

Should the Giants acquire Zobrist, they’d likely pencil him in as the team’s everyday left fielder. Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford have second and short locked down, respectively, and Casey McGehee will most likely assume third-base duties after the position was vacated by Pablo Sandoval.

Even if it’s not the Giants who acquire Zobrist, Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi writes that “there’s a decent chance” Zobrist will be moved before Opening Day.

The 34-year-old may be worth more to the Rays in a trade than he would be on a team looking like it will enter a mini-rebuild next season. A free agent after 2015, he’s owed just $7.5 million next year. That’s extremely affordable considering his value. He has produced a WAR of at least 5.4 each of the past four seasons, per FanGraphs.

A switch-hitter who can deliver a line of .270/.350/.420 with 15 homers and 70 RBI can be a difference-maker for a lineup in need of more depth. The Giants certainly do after losing Sandoval and Mike Morse to free agency.

Couple his bat with his versatility, and Zobrist is easily one of the most valuable players in baseball. The Giants better be ready to deal top prospects if they want to add him to the team.


Nick Swisher

Fresh off the worst season of his successful 11-year career, Nick Swisher has become the subject of trade rumors this offseason.

He hit just .208/.278/.331 with eight homers and 42 RBI in 401 plate appearances in his second year with the Cleveland Indians. While he still has two more years left on his contract, the Indians already appear to be moving on.

They acquired Brandon Moss earlier this offseason, a player with the exact same set of skills as Swisher. He’s a first baseman who can also play the outfield but should really be the designated hitter—just like Swish.

Naturally, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports that the Indians “would like to trade him.” It won’t be easy to trade someone coming off such a bad season. Indians general manager Chris Antonelli has to sell him to other teams as a big bounce-back candidate, but even that might not work.

Cafardo lists the Chicago Cubs as a possible trade partner. On paper, that seems like a fit. The Cubs have a talented young roster but need to infuse some more veteran leadership in the final months of the offseason. Jon Lester is there to command the pitching staff, but there isn’t someone to help groom the young hitters.

With Anthony Rizzo firmly entrenched at first base, Swisher could play a semi-regular role as a corner outfielder. He’d have to yield time to Jorge Soler and others, of course.

Perhaps a one-for-one deal could work if the Indians are interested in taking Edwin Jackson from the Cubs. Sometimes a change of scenery is good for struggling veterans. At the very least, the Indians would be getting another arm who can be used in the back of the rotation.

We’ll have to wait to hear more information on a potential Swisher trade, as Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes that “the Indians consider Jason Kipnis, Bourn and Swisher three of the keys to 2015.”

Conflicting reports are nothing new this time of the year, so we’ll just keep waiting.


Other Outfielders

Plenty of teams have outfield depth from which to deal. Morosi lists nine teams and several players who could be involved at some point, with Zobrist and Swisher both named on the list.

He writes that we should see “heavy activity” when it comes to outfield bats following the holidays. Among the list of names are a few intriguing ones.

Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies, Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels, Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds and Mark Trumbo of the Arizona Diamondbacks are among those names probably on the unlikely-to-be-dealt list; however, the craziness of this offseason should leave our minds open for anything.

Trumbo is a player who would certainly garner interest if made available, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweeted back on Dec. 10 that nobody has been able to gauge Arizona’s interest in moving him:

Piecoro tweeted a few days earlier a quote from Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart regarding the idea of moving the slugger:

It would be hard to justify moving Trumbo. Sure, he only slashed .235/.293/.415 in 362 plate appearances, but you have to remember that he was troubled by a foot injury for most of the season. Even still, he hit 14 homers and drove in 61 in 88 games.

That’s nearly 30 home runs and over 100 RBI projected over a full season, and one would have to assume that his slash line would have approached his four-year average with the Angels—.250/.299/.469—had he been fully healthy.

Trumbo is a valuable bat for an Arizona team that might surprise next season. He, Paul Goldschmidt and Yasmany Tomas form a tough trio for pitchers to work through, and their are plenty of other young hitters ready to take the next step.

Arizona should only move Trumbo if it is blown away by an offer. Given his performance last year, it probably won’t be.


Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @kennydejohn.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Nick Swisher Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz, Speculation Surrounding Indians OF

The Cleveland Indians are reportedly ready to renege on their considerable investment in All-Star Nick Swisher.

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports Sunday that Cleveland is prepared to trade away the 11-year MLB veteran, and a number of potential suitors are named (h/t HardballTalk.com’s Bill Baer):

The Indians would like to trade [Swisher] because they acquired Brandon Moss from Oakland. Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore, San Diego, Milwaukee, and the Cubs (who would love to add a veteran leader), could be possible trade partners. Swisher, who has had some knee issues, has some $30 million left on his deal and the Indians might have to eat some of the money to move him.

Swisher has played every position in the outfield in addition to first base in his career, and he now appears destined to be suiting up for his fifth different club.

The Indians signed Swisher to a four-year, $56 million contract in December 2012, with hopes that he would help turn Cleveland around into a consistent winner.

While the Indians played rather well since Swisher arrived in posting two seasons north of .500, the versatile 34-year-old did not contribute as much as was expected to the cause. In 2014, Swisher batted just .208 in 97 games, as his year was cut short by surgery on both knees in late August.

Before then, in June, the usually durable Swisher discussed dealing with the trying circumstances, per Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes: “It’s been a crazy year. I’m dealing with some bad luck, some adversity, some injuries. It’s all come up in one year this season. … It’s the first time in 11 years I’ve gone through something like this. It’s uncharted waters for me. I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be and get my work in.”

However, Swisher made it through most of 2013 and struck out 138 times with just a .246 average—a 26-point drop from his last year with the New York Yankees. To be fair, he did have a solid 3.8 WAR, compared to minus-1.1 in the same category this past season, per Baseball-Reference.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported last month that Cleveland was interested in dealing Swisher away this offseason:

Cleveland.com’s Dennis Manoloff felt it was the right move to at least gauge the interest in placing Swisher on the trading block:

In light of his recent knee injuries, though, Swisher has an uphill battle ahead to prove himself. What Swisher will bring no matter what is a radiant, positive presence to his new clubhouse, should the Indians ultimately decide to move him.

No matter what role he’s in as a ballplayer, a potential new team has to be excited about the prospect of adding someone like Swisher to the roster to help with team chemistry.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Rumors: Breaking Down Trade Buzz for Justin Upton, Nick Swisher and More

You can feel the urgency between Major League Baseball teams and players picking up each day. There’s been a pattern in recent years where it took months for deals and trades to happen. That hasn’t been the case so far this offseason, which leads to more excitement and unpredictability. 

While the huge dominoes, such as Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, aren’t likely to fall until the winter meetings in December, there are big moves being talked about that can reshape everything that happens this offseason. All it takes is one surprise contract or unexpected trade to force someone else into action. 

It’s also possible that a lot of what’s being talked about right now is purely smoke. While that may end up being the case, it’s still fun to look at the possibilities of what could happen. 

Here are the latest trade rumors that you should be paying close attention to. 


Braves Not Done Dealing Outfielders

In what is shaping up to be a busy offseason for the Atlanta Braves, the franchise may not be ready to go into 2015 with an outfield of B.J. Upton, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis

According to Andy Martino of The New York Daily News, Gattis and Justin Upton are generating interest from other teams:

In an age of scarce offense, Upton’s skills are rare and highly valuable. And the teams calling Atlanta about him are seeing that the price will be much higher than what the Braves extracted from St. Louis for Heyward.

Evan Gattis, who tied for 18th in the N.L. this year with 22 homers, is also available in the right deal, teams say — with a price that is also set by the dearth of power in the game.

One thing that does stand out in Martino’s report is the phrase “right deal.” Every player is available in the right deal. It’s a vague, generic term, though it isn’t completely without merit in this case because the Braves are looking past next season after trading Jason Heyward to St. Louis. 

It’s also interesting that the Braves are apparently putting a higher price on Upton when you consider these stats from Ace of MLB Stats:

Upton doesn’t come with more control than Heyward, as his contract also expires at the end of 2015. The obvious difference is Upton has hit 56 homers with a .478 slugging percentage in two years with the Braves. Heyward has hit 25 homers and slugged .401 over that same span, per FanGraphs

As valuable as Heyward is thanks to his defense and on-base skills, Upton’s best gift is his ability to hit the ball over the fence. In this era of declining offense, power is more valuable than it’s ever been. Giancarlo Stanton’s new contract can attest to that.

The Braves got one pitcher who has four years of MLB control (Shelby Miller) and a prospect in Tyrell Jenkins who will be under control for six years if and when he gets to The Show. That’s high value considering Heyward is a free agent after the season. 

If Atlanta’s front office thinks it can do better than that for Upton, with more teams valuing the low cost of prospects and young players than ever, the All-Star outfielder will likely remain with the team at the start of 2015. 


Nick Swisher on His Way out, Bro?

Two years ago, the Cleveland Indians made a splash in free agency by bringing former Ohio State star Nick Swisher back to his roots. His first year with the team was like a dream scenario, as the Indians surprised everyone by winning 92 games and made the playoffs as a wild card. 

Things came crashing down to earth for Swisher in 2014. He battled injuries most of the year and hit .208/.278/.331 in 97 games before being shut down in August following knee surgery. 

With Swisher’s value at an all-time low, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Indians may try to get creative if they are going to make any noise this offseason:

That seems like a foolish move, because what can the Indians realistically expect to get for a soon-to-be 34-year-old with two guaranteed years and $30 million left on his contract, per Baseball-Reference.com, coming off the worst season of his career?

Here’s where the creativity comes into it, as Rosenthal speculated about other players with bad contracts who could potentially be moved:

It’s not a pretty group of players to look at. For the Indians, the only one who could be of interest is Ubaldo Jimenez because they know him well. He also had some success in 2013, though most of that came in the second half (1.82 ERA), and he was otherwise mediocre during his time in Cleveland. 

The Indians may not have the financial space to make any big moves this offseason, so keeping the door open to anything is smart. It just doesn’t seem viable to move Swisher at this point given the money he is owed and the possible return in a trade. 


Didi Gregorius a Shortstop Alternative

In a market where a lot of marquee teams could be in the market for a shortstop—including the Yankees, Mets and Dodgers—one cheap alternative could be Arizona’s Didi Gregorius. 

According to Rosenthal, teams are calling the Diamondbacks about the availability of Gregorius:

Gregorius has a lot of work to do with the bat if he’s ever going to be a long-term starter in the big leagues. He has a .682 OPS in 183 games with the Diamondbacks, who, according to ESPN.com’s Park Factors stats, play in one of the best offensive environments in baseball. 

If you put Gregorius in a worse offensive park, like Citi Field, imagine what the numbers could look like? However, the silver lining for any team with an interest in the 24-year-old is that he won’t cost a lot in terms of dollars. 

Gregorius isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2016, so he will make little more than the league minimum next year before seeing any spike in his salary. That could make it easier, in relative terms, to live with a bad hitting performance when you aren’t paying a player much money. 

Even though Gregorius hasn’t turned into the defender it seemed he would be as a prospect, FanGraphs‘ metrics have him roughly average to this point in his career with no defensive runs saved and 87 plays made out of his zone. 

Considering how bad Derek Jeter and Hanley Ramirez were at shortstop last season for the Yankees and Dodgers, respectively, getting an average glove at the most important defensive position would be like seeing the reincarnation of Ozzie Smith. 

The Diamondbacks don’t need Gregorius anymore, especially with Chris Owings returning and the general manager who acquired him (Kevin Towers) getting fired in September. So finding a trade partner for the young shortstop would be a smart move. 


Stats via Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter: @adamwells1985.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Nick Swisher Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz, Speculation Surrounding Indians 1B

After two subpar seasons as a member of the Cleveland Indians, Nick Swisher‘s days with the Tribe could soon be numbered.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Indians are considering trading the 33-year-old first baseman and outfielder in exchange for a player with a similarly large contract:

Swish is currently under contract until the end of the 2017 MLB season at $14 million annually, per Spotrac.com. After hitting .208 with just eight home runs and 42 RBI in 2014, there is no question that there are concerns regarding his ability to live up to that deal.    

He was limited to just 97 games with various injuries, including a knee ailment that ended his season in August. Because of that, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti is considering moving Swisher back to the outfield on a full-time basis should he remain with the team, according to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com:

It’s a very real possibility that there could be less strain on Swish’s knees in the outfield than at first base. There are very different movements in the outfield and at first base. At first base there is a lot of bending and standing and stopping and starting. In the outfield there is more running, but fewer quick and abrupt movements.

If the organization moves forward with potential plans to trade him, though, Swisher’s utilization will be another team’s decision.

Swisher put up at least 23 home runs and 82 RBI in four consecutive seasons with the New York Yankees from 2009 through 2012, so he can be an impact player when healthy and on top of his game.

With such a massive contract attached to him, though, the Indians may not be willing to show patience.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Nick Swisher Injury: Updates on Indians 1B’s Knee and Return

Cleveland Indians first baseman Nick Swisher is one of the most durable players in the game, but the veteran suffered a left knee injury and will go on the 15-day disabled list as a result.   

The Indians’ official Twitter account reported the news on Tuesday afternoon:

Cleveland also called up a player to take Swisher’s place on the roster, per the team’s account:

Swisher, 33, is currently mired in an underwhelming season thus far, hitting just .211 with three home runs and a .319 on-base percentage.

While he hasn’t gotten off to a great start, he has normally been a reliable player throughout his career, as Joe Reedy of Fox Sports Ohio notes:

Reedy also notes the team’s lineup for Tuesday night with Jesus Aguilar plugged into Swisher’s spot:

Swisher spoke about his status in recent games and discussed his desire to fight through his lingering ailments, per Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com:

“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” Swisher said. “I just know that it didn’t feel good. These guys are out there fighting. I want to be out there fighting with the guys. Everybody is banged up right now.”

Despite Swisher’s struggles, he has still been a veteran leader for the Indians over the last two seasons. With his bat out of the lineup, Cleveland will have to finish the series with the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies with Aguilar in his place.

The Indians currently sit at 24-28 after winning five out of their last eight games, but will need the offense to continue producing to contend with their upcoming opponents. As Swisher recovers from the injury, the team will certainly need someone else to step up at the plate in his place.


Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter:

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

San Francisco Giants: Did They Overpay for Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt?

Earlier this offseason, when the San Francisco Giants re-signed reliever Jeremy Affeldt to a three-year, $18 million contract, I argued that the club overpaid to retain the 33-year-old lefty. The Giants have since given a three-year, $15 million extension to 32-year-old reliever Santiago Casilla.

In retrospect, neither player seems to have been given an egregiously large contract given the way the market has shaken out. But I generally don’t like paying market prices for veteran relievers because relief pitchers tend to be more fungible than starting pitchers and everyday position players—and the latter two categories are harder to find.

For example, the Giants turned up Casilla on a minor league deal prior to 2010 after he had washed out by putting up a 5.96 ERA with the A’s the season before. In three years with the Giants, he’s put up a combined 2.22 ERA.

It’s also worth noting that neither Casilla nor Affeldt projects to be the Giants closer in 2013. Manager Bruce Bochy may use them both to close occasionally depending on matchups, but it’s more likely that Sergio Romo will retain the job.

Romo earned that role with his outstanding performance as the closer during the final month of the regular season and throughout the postseason. He saved all four of his playoff chances with a 0.84 ERA, and he nailed down all of his regular-season save opportunities in September and October.

Thus, it doesn’t make sense to compare Casilla and Affeldt‘s contracts to those of Brandon League and Jonathon Broxton, as both were signed to be closers for their respective teams.

Instead, it’s more instructive to look at the contracts handed out to setup men this winter using contractual data from Baseball Prospectus’ Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

The Cubs signed Shawn Camp to a one-year deal at $1.35 million and Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year deal worth $9.5 million, with a club option for a third year. Tampa Bay re-signed setup man Joel Peralta for two years and $6 million with club options from 2015 through 2017.

The Pirates re-signed Jason Grilli to a two-year, $6.75 million deal to be their setup man, but after they dealt closer Joel Hanrahan, Grilli will likely become the team’s closer.

The Brewers signed lefty relievers Tom Gorzelanny (two years, $5.7 million) and Mike Gonzalez (one year, $2.25 million). The Los Angeles Angels signed lefty reliever Sean Burnett to a two-year, $8 million deal with a third-year club option.

The largest contract given to a setup man was the Phillies‘ two-year, $12 million agreement with Mike Adams.

Thus, if the Giants were truly paying market prices for Affeldt and Casilla, they would have given them both two-year deals with club options for a third season at an average annual value of between $3 and $6 million. The Giants didn’t overpay in terms of monetary value, but they probably guaranteed one year too many.

Given that the team is in win-now mode, it doesn’t really matter if they have to slightly overpay to retain the guys they want. Casilla and Affeldt have both been very good in terms of run prevention with the Giants, so keeping both players in the fold makes sense.

The final thing to consider here is opportunity cost. Casilla was going to be in the fold for 2013 regardless because the Giants controlled him for one more season before he could become a free agent. However, the $8 million the team agreed to pay Affeldt next season could have gone towards upgrading left field, which appears to be the weakest spot on the roster.

Nick Swisher reportedly wanted to sign with the Giants, and he will make $11 million to play for the Indians next season after signing a four-year, $52 million deal with them. Had the Giants let Affeldt walk, they could have used the money allocated to him, plus the $2 million given to reserve outfielder Andres Torres, to make a run at Swisher. Upgrading from the Gregor Blanco-Torres platoon to Swisher in left field would have more than made up for the loss of Affeldt in the bullpen.

The Giants ultimately made retaining Affeldt more of a priority than upgrading left field. They won the World Series with Blanco starting in left for the final two months of the regular season and all of the postseason, so they probably figure that they can win it all with him out there again next season. He’s also younger, much cheaper and a better defender and baserunner than Swisher.

The Giants didn’t drastically overpay in re-signing Affeldt and extending Casilla. However, the resources used to retain Affeldt might have been better spent on a left-field upgrade.

Alas, I have the benefit of hindsight. But the Giants have to make these decisions in real time.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Nick Swisher: Ranking Best Potential Destinations for Free-Agent Outfielder

Free agent Nick Swisher is drawing plenty of interest this offseason, which should come as no surprise given his consistent productivity.

The 32-year-old outfielder has hit 20 or more home runs in each of the last eight seasons, and he’s played in at least 131 games per year over that span. In 2012, he hit .272 from the plate with 24 homers and 93 RBI while also posting the third-highest slugging percentage (.467) of his career.

Given his durability and versatility—the switch-hitter played 41 games at first base last season—Swisher is one of the most sought after free agents this winter.

According to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, the Red Sox, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants are all in the running for Swisher’s services.

While all four teams would provide various benefits, some situations would certainly be better for Swisher than others. Here’s how I would rank his top options.


3. Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox turned their attention to Swisher after whiffing on Josh Hamilton. If Swisher is smart, he will follow Hamilton’s lead and avoid the mess at Fenway.

While the Red Sox are usually an AL East powerhouse, they were terrible in 2012, winning just 69 games. They finished last in the division, and with the Toronto Blue Jays adding several major pieces this offseason, it looks like the Red Sox will be on the bottom of the AL East standings once again.

Boston also only seems interested in offering short-term contracts. Since Swisher is reportedly looking for a five- or six-year deal, he should take his talents elsewhere.


2. Cleveland Indians

Swisher played his college ball at Ohio State, and the Indians are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to bring him back to Ohio.

According to Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, former Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel met with Swisher for lunch on Tuesday.

While Cleveland gets points for creativity, it also makes sense for Swisher baseball-wise. It has a gaping hole in its outfield after trading away Shin Soo-Choo, and Swisher would be an excellent fit in its lineup.

The Indians need Swisher more than any other team, so they would likely be most willing to accommodate his contract requests. They also have the advantage of playing in the AL Central, where the balance of power shifts on a very regular basis.

If Swisher heads to Cleveland, they will be just another move or two away from playoff contention.


1. New York Yankees

Personally, I think Swisher’s best option is to return to the Yankees.

He’s already won a World Series with the club (2009), and they are a threat to take home the title every year. He’s also proven he can handle the pressures of New York, hitting at least .249 with 23 or more homers in each of his seasons with the Bronx Bombers.

Although they flamed out in the 2012 playoffs, the Yankees give Swisher the best chance to win multiple rings. They also shouldn’t have any trouble meeting his salary requests, since the Yankees are never afraid to sacrifice money for wins.

I wouldn’t blame him for heading to Cleveland, but if I was Nick Swisher, I’d return to New York next season.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress