CLEVELAND – Two people familiar with the negotiations said Nick Swisher has agreed to a $56 million, four-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, who used the free agent outfielder’s deep Ohio connections to convince him to join the club.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because Swisher must take a physical before the deal can be finalized. The Indians are expected to announce Swisher’s signing after Christmas.
The Indians will not comment until Swisher completes his physical.
“Wow! What a crazy few weeks,” Swisher said on Twitter. “Hey Cleveland! Are you ready? Because I’m coming home!”
Swisher’s deal includes a $14 million option for 2017 that could become guaranteed based on plate appearances the previous year.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was excited about the club’s newest addition.
“Welcome to the Tribe (at)nickswisher, pumped to get ya,” Kipnis tweeted.
Swisher, 32, spent the last four seasons with the New York Yankees, taking advantage of the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. A switch-hitter, Swisher hit .272 this season with 24 homers and 93 RBI.
Swisher will fill an outfield hole for the Indians, who traded Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati. Swisher will play right, with recently acquired Drew Stubbs likely taking over in center with Michael Brantley shifting from center to left field.
Swisher, who was born in Columbus and played at Ohio State, visited the Indians earlier in the week. The club used Swisher’s ties with the Buckeyes to convince him to join a team that won just 68 games last season following an historic collapse in August.
During his tour of Progressive Field, Swisher watched a video presentation on the stadium’s giant scoreboard that featured messages from current Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and basketball coach Thad Matta, who urged him to sign with the Indians.
FORMER MAJOR League Baseball player Ryan Freel was found dead in his Florida home, and authorities are investigating his death as a possible suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office spokesman Shannon Hartley said Sunday that the 36-year-old Freel’s body was found at his Jacksonville home Saturday afternoon. The medical examiner will make the final determination of the cause of death.
The career of the speedy Freel was cut short after eight seasons by head injuries. He spent six of his eight big-league seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and finished his career in 2009 with a .268 average and 143 steals.
The Florida native once estimated he’d sustained up to 10 concussions. Freel missed 30 games in 2007 after a collision with a teammate caused a concussion.