You can take Nick Swisher off the list of big names on the market. The New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand reports that Swisher and the Cleveland Indians have agreed to a four-year contract with an option for a fifth year.
BREAKING: Nick Swisher has agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with the Indians. Vesting $14M option for a 5th year could make it $70M.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 23, 2012
Swisher hit .272 with 24 home runs and 93 RBI in 148 games this season, par for the course for the consistent outfielder. Swisher now has eight straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, and he compiled at least 80 RBI in each of his four seasons with the New York Yankees.
UPDATE: January 3, 2:30 PM EST, By Sam Westmoreland
It may have taken a little while, but the Indians have officially signed Swisher to a four-year deal which will keep the slugger in Cleveland through 2017.
MLB (@MLB) January 3, 2013
The move gives the Indians the power source they desperately need in the outfield. He strikes out more than they'd probably like, but with his power, he's a perfect fit in Cleveland's young lineup.
Overall, Swisher hit .268 with 105 home runs and 349 RBI for New York.
Swisher was never expected to return to the Yankees, and he opted to hit the open market rather than accept a one-year qualifying offer of $13.3 million from the team.
With Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano set to hit free agency after the 2013 season, the Yankees clearly did not want to break the bank to keep Swisher.
Swisher brings good pop and plate discipline to the table (he had an OBP of .364 and finished at .367 in his four-year stint with the Yankees). He's a fairly consistent player who does not have a history of serious injuries.
Swisher has struggled in the postseason, however. In six trips to the playoffs, he hit just .169 with four home runs and eight RBI in 46 games.
He was also generally liked by fans (though that support eventually wore thin given his postseason struggles) and, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN, "was accepted as a productive and enthusiastic presence in a mostly corporate locker room."
There will likely be some folks questioning the length of this contract for a player who will be 32 this season, but Swisher has been consistent and healthy enough to alleviate some of those concerns. More importantly, the Indians land one of the last remaining marquee names on the market and a fantastic clubhouse personality.
In all, the Swisher move represents a major upgrade, as his pop and patience at the plate will benefit every hitter in the Indians lineup.
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