The Cleveland Indians got their man. They were recruiting Nick Swisher heavily, and yesterday they signed him. Swisher, who is coming off four solid seasons with the New York Yankees, quickly became one of the hottest outfield free agents as Josh Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels. Plenty of teams were interested, but it seems Cleveland was the best fit.
Marc Craig of Newsday says the Yankees were in no position to negotiate with Swisher on the free agent market. They made him a qualifying offer of $13.3 million, but they couldn't go beyond that and stick to their plan that will allow them to drop payroll to below $189 million by 2014. $189 million is the luxury tax threshold. The Yankees want to be below that so they can stop paying millions in revenue sharing. Allowing Swisher to walks helps them accomplish this. However, making the $13.3 million offer to Swisher ensure New York of draft pick compensation.
Swisher enjoyed a successful run in New York including a World Series victory in 2009. He had his best overall years while with the Yankees, hitting .268/.367/.483. He made his only All-Star appearance while with New York as well. The Yankees will miss him, and Swisher may miss New York, but he has a chance to help rebuild the Indians into a contender.
Thank you NY for the kindness & support you’ve shown me the past 4 years. It’s been an amazing experience & I’ve loved every minute of it!Swisher remained relatively healthy in New York, playing in 148 or more games in every season. This is something that should bode well for the Indians. Swisher is a tough player and should be ready to go night in and night out.
— Nick Swisher (@NickSwisher) December 23, 2012