Via Mark Feinsand -
Nick Swisher is officially a former Yankee.
Swisher agreed to terms on a four-year, $56 million contract with the Indians late Saturday night, the Daily News has learned. The deal includes an easily-attainable $14 million vesting option for a fifth year based on plate appearances that could bring the total value of the contract to $70 million through the 2017 season.
The 32-year-old outfielder had received interest from no less than a half-dozen teams, but the Indians made the strongest push for Swisher’s services. The Rangers, Mariners, Red Sox and Orioles were among the other teams that had expressed interest in Swisher.
Swisher’s $56 million deal is the fifth-largest contract signed this winter, and the third-biggest for a position player. Josh Hamilton, 31, inked a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels while 28-year-old B.J. Upton signed a five-year, $75 million pact with the Braves.
The only other deals larger than Swisher’s this offseason were Zack Greinke’s six-year, $147 million deal with the Angels and Anibal Sanchez’s five-year, $80 million contract with the Tigers.
The Tribe gave Swisher and his wife, JoAnna, the red-carpet treatment during a visit to Cleveland last week, making it known how badly they wanted him in an Indians uniform.
Swisher grew up in a West Virginia town only 14 miles from Ohio and attended Ohio State, so the Indians’ pitch centered around his potential homecoming.
Former Buckeyes head football coach Jim Tressel helped recruit Swisher during a lunch, while current Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, basketball coach Thad Matta and baseball coach Greg Beals each recorded personal messages to Swisher that were played on the Progressive Field scoreboard.
Swisher’s history with new Indians manager Terry Francona played a key role in the decision. Francona, who in 1988 was managed in the minor leagues by Swisher’s father, Steve, has known Swisher since he was a child. Francona was very involved in the Indians’ recruitment of Swisher last week.
Maybe “The Lish!” will wear #34 in Cleveland, in honor of Joe Charboneau? Of course, he would have to buy it from Zach McAllister…but he can afford it now.