Update (6:14 p.m) – Jon Heyman tweeted that Swisher will not meet with the Mariners on his free agent tour. A source within the Mariners confirmed that they have stopped pursuing Swisher. It didn’t sound as though Swisher was ever really serious about signing with Seattle.
The Cleveland Indians met with outfielder Nick Swisher on Tuesday and pulled out all the stops while wooing the free agent switch-hitter. They even enlisted the help of a person who is familiar with recruiting. Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel ate lunch with Swisher and others at progressive field.
From the AP story …
Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was among a group who had lunch on Tuesday at Progressive Field with Swisher, who is considering a multiyear contract offer from the Indians. Swisher would immediately fill a hole in right field for Cleveland, which traded Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati last week and has been trying to improve a team that collapsed in August and finished 68-94.
The 32-year-old Swisher, who spent the past four seasons with the New York Yankees, arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday night and went to dinner with new manager Terry Francona, team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti. Last week, Antonetti said he intended to add a ”corner” outfielder and the Indians are pulling out all the stops to add Swisher.
He and his wife, actress JoAnna Garcia, who is expecting the couple’s first child in May, arrived at Progressive Field at 10:15 a.m. and toured the club’s family room. They were shown a suite and the team’s clubhouse before the Indians tugged at Swisher’s Ohio State connections to convince him Cleveland should be his next baseball home. Swisher played baseball for the Buckeyes.
The Indians played a video on their scoreboard that featured current Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and basketball coach Thad Matta, who encouraged Swisher to join the Indians. Swisher was moved by the gesture and didn’t expect to see Tressel at lunch in the stadium’s Terrace Club.
Don’t underestimate Swisher’s ties to Ohio. He was born and raised in Columbus and played at Ohio State. Just look at the picture above.
Sources within the Mariners said they don’t plan to meet with any free agents this week and Jon Heyman of CBS recently tweeted that Swisher would not be making a free agent visit to Seattle. The other likely destinations are Texas and Philadelphia.
Why not Seattle? Well, Swisher has seemed to be lukewarm on going to the Mariners from the beginning. Seattle has plenty of money to spend, but Texas has just as much if not more.
Cleveland is supposedly offering a 4-year, $50 million contract, which would be underpaying. Both Texas and Seattle could go higher. Fangraphs rates Swisher’s value at $17 million per season. Would a five year deal make him look elsewhere? Perhaps. Or a four-year, $75 million might be enough to change his mind.
I’m not sure what the Mariners’ interest level is on Swisher. I know they’ve inquired about him, but again, he may not have any interest in coming here.
Heyman mentioned that the Mariners might not want to part with the No. 12 pick in next year’s draft. But in previous conversations, he seemed resolute to the fact that he would lose that pick if he signed a top free agent. He knows the team needs help now.