The Cleveland Indians’ off-season acquisition of Nick Swisher is one of five moves that will backfire in the eyes of ESPN’s Jim Bowden.
Though Swisher has been one of the most consistent players in the game over the last five years and replaces the wins lost in the trade of Shin-Soo Choo, Bowden feels that the Indians’ willingness to give the outfielder $14 million — on average — per year will be a huge regret within three seasons.
“Swisher was one of the most consistent performers to hit the open market this offseason,” writes Bowden, “so the Indians can expect his normal production of 20-plus homers and an OBP above .350 even though he won’t have the same protection in the lineup he had with the Yankees. However, Swisher has never won a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger and has made it to one All-Star game in nine years. Also, he’s a mediocre defender and has an awful postseason track record, though it’s unlikely he’ll get a chance to correct that in Cleveland.
“His high energy and enthusiasm will be a huge plus to the Indians’ clubhouse,” Bowden continues, “but $56 million for a player who will be playing in his decline years from age 32 to 36 is extremely risky, especially because he doesn’t profile as a legitimate 3-4-5 hitter. The deal will work for the first two years, but if he’s not traded by the end of 2014, it will come back to bite GM Chris Antonetti.”
Once the signing was made official, ESPN’s Keith Law speculated that the team could flip Swisher next off-season when the free agent pool is shallow and the player is still producing a win total that would make him worth the value of his contract.
Swisher is presently slated to play everyday right field for the Indians and bat in the middle of the order.
[Related: How Improved are the 2013 Indians?]
(h/t WFNY reader Josh)