In Nick Cafardo’s most recent column for the Boston Globe, he reported the already frequently postulated news that the Cleveland Indians are looking to deal Nick Swisher. Cafardo reported that with acquisition of Brandon Moss, the tribe would like to move on from Swisher and that they are looking for possible trade partners. This has proved to be a boorish task to this point with Swisher coming off of the worst season of his career and surgery on both knees. The 34 year old batted a paltry .208/.278/.331 with 8 home runs and 42 RBI’s in 401 trips to the dish in 2014. Swisher is a positive influence in the clubhouse, with his up-beat attitude and veteran leadership. The proposition of moving swisher gets more precarious when factoring his bloated contract worth $30 million dollars over the next two years. Cafardo goes on to indicate that the Rays, Cubs, Orioles, Padres, Blue Jays and Brewers as potential interested parties. There are two ways that the Indians can get this deal done:
- Swapping Inflated Contracts – The Indians could potentially find a team that is in the same situation with a similar player. Someone who is of risk when it comes to production on the field that has an inflated contract of comparable value. Sometimes a change of scenery can make a difference for veteran players, especially when they are stuck in cities where they failed to live up to their high paying contracts. Sometime teams can both unload unwanted contracts for a player in an area of greater need. Regardless of how they get there, this is a possibility but is the less likely of the two scenarios. Mostly, because in the Indians case they would remain in the same payroll confinement they are trying to get relief from.
The Chicago Cubs are desperate to unload Edwin Jackson’s inflated contract just like the Indians are Swisher’s. The Cubs are noted as one of the teams interested in Swisher and could conceivably consider swapping their inflated contracts in hopes that a change of scenery would help both players and in turn benefit both ball clubs.
In my opinion this type of a deal would not be smart for the Indians. Gaining a player like Edwin Jackson potentially leave the Tribe in the identical situation they were before but without one of their clubhouse leaders.
- Absorbing A Portion of The Contract – The second of the trade scenario’s is the more likely of the two. Of the teams that Cafardo named as possible suitors in the Swisher sweepstakes, only three really make sense. The Cubs are one of them and we already took a closer look at that potential trade. The other two teams that could take a more pervasive look at trading for Swisher are the Orioles and Padres. This potential deal would have the Indians taking on a portion of Swisher’s contract in order to make it attractive for the other team to acquire him, while at the same team relieving the Indians payroll of an obtrusive burden.
The Orioles face pivotal decisions when it comes to their outfield. They lost major contributors in Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz and have yet to fill that deficiency. They are exploring a number of options currently including Colby Rasmus. Even if they land Rasmus, they still will need help in the outfield and are likely to consider Swisher at the right price. The Indians will have to eat somewhere around $7 Million dollars of the $30 owed to Swisher but that would free up a good deal of payroll money and allow the tribe to add another piece for this season as long as it was in a short term capacity. This move would bring the Indians projected 2016 payroll down into an acceptable range. As it stands now with Swisher on the books they will be looking at a franchise record high of somewhere around $95 Million dollars. So unloading Swisher would potentially allow for immediate flexibility when it comes to the 2015 roster and much needed relief from their financial burden in 2016.
The Padres GM A.J. Prellar, is trying to make the lowly Padres into instant contenders overnight. He went on spending binge that brought them Matt Kemp, Wil Meyers, Justin Upton, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks in one weeks time. Their next priority will be upgrading at first base and Swisher’s name had already been mentioned. If the Indians offer to take on a portion of his contract they may be able to unload a good deal of their financial burden on a zealous Padres club.
It very possible that these potential trades could more involved and include other aspects to them. The Indians could get prospects in return or even a player that could help the Indians this year, but that all depends on each clubs agenda. However, the framework of a potential Swisher trade will be based on one of the scenarios I have presented and for the reasons laid out in this article it will more than likely be either the Cubs, Orioles or Padres that engages with Indians in serious talks about trading for Swisher. The Indians capacity to unload Swisher and his contract could still prove to be a vexing enterprise, but the opportunity is there.
By: Brad Ward
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