The Cleveland Indians owe Nick Swisher a lot of money over the next few seasons. Considering the fact that his production is down this season and Swisher is out with an injury to his knee, the idea of paying a bunch of money for the veteran seems less and less appealing.
If the Indians can find a match to trade Swisher this off-season, they might seriously consider that move to free up some money on their payroll.
Buster Olney of ESPN suggests that the Indians could look to deal him as a salary dump this off-season, also citing the emergence of Carlos Santana at first base as a reason that the Indians might pursue a way out from under Swisher’s deal (subscription required).
Swisher is due $15 million in 2015 and 2016, with a $14 million option that vests in 2017 if he reaches a certain number of plate appearances and passes a physical (per Spotrac). That deal might not have looked so bad when they initially offered the deal, but it is a pretty gruesome visual in the midst of a season in which Swisher batted .208/.278/.331 with eight home runs and 42 RBI.
The dilemma for the Indians and any other team is the value big league franchises tend to place in Swisher’s leadership qualities in the locker room. They valued those attributes on their way to the playoffs last season and certainly would in future seasons as well.
Teams make mistakes when they overpay for those types of intangibles, but they are still worth mentioning as far as factors in a potential trade involving Swisher this winter.
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