Free agent outfielder Nick Swisher has been in high demand this Winter and is beginning to make “recruiting visits” to some clubs he may be interested in signing with. Monday and Tuesday, that meant a trip to Cleveland.
Waiting for Next Year has the details of the free meals that Swisher enjoyed, and the peculiar company with whom he dined.
Matt Loede of 92.3 The Fan reports that Swisher, who paid visit to Cleveland on Monday night and Tuesday afternoon, was treated to dinner with team president Mark Shapiro.Tuesday, he was treated to a lunch with former Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel and defensive back Dustin Fox — Swisher, being an alumnus of The Ohio State University — Shapiro, newly hired manager Terry Francona, general manager Chris Antonetti and owner Paul Dolan.
Are the Indians recruiting Swisher as an outfielder, or a defensive back?
Swisher did the right thing in waiting out the market before signing. Now that Josh Hamilton is off the market, Swisher become the most accomplished corner outfield bat remaining. Cleveland has been perhaps the most aggressive suitor in the Swisher sweepstakes, but he’s drawn significant interest from Seattle, Texas, San Francisco, and Boston.
The Indians have a new manager in Terry Francona and apparently have enough money to make a move in the free agent market. Cleveland had reportedly offered $44 million in a contract to Shane Victorino, who ultimately signed in Boston, and another $18 million was offered to Kevin Youkilis, who signed with the Yankees. There have been reports of a four-year contract offer for Swisher, which has been rumored to be anywhere from $40-50 million.
With so many teams showing interest and with prices for other free agent hitters exceeding $13 million per year, it seems unreasonable to think Swisher would sign for anything less than at least $60 million over four years. Is that too steep for the Indians? Maybe.
Or maybe they can convince the switch-hitting right fielder to come to Cleveland because the team has Jim Tressel on speed dial. Somehow, I don’t think the sweater vest will make much of a difference. Unless, of course, he’s kicking in the extra $10 million.