November 23, 2014

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Indians: Swisher says he’s coming to Cleveland

CLEVELAND — Nick Swisher is coming to Cleveland — at least that’s what his Twitter account says.

Shortly after reports from New York began breaking Sunday morning that Swisher and the Indians had agreed to a four-year contract worth $56 million, the veteran outfielder took to his Twitter.

“Wow! What a crazy few weeks,” Swisher typed. “Hey Cleveland! Are you ready? Because I’m coming home! #RollTribe.”

There is no official word from Indians camp, with an announcement likely pending Swisher passing a physical examination in Cleveland. But it looks as though the Indians won out over Seattle, Boston, Texas and Baltimore — all of whom were reportedly interested in acquiring Swisher’s services.

His Ohio ties likely played a part.

Swisher, 32, was born in Ohio and lived there until moving to West Virginia at age 11. He returned to the Buckeye State to star at The Ohio State University from 2000-02.

Part of the Indians’ strong push to land Swisher, a career .256 hitter over eight-plus seasons in the majors, were messages on the Progressive Field videotron from OSU football coach Urban Meyer, basketball coach Thad Matta and baseball coach Greg Beals — during a visit from Swisher and his wife, actor JoAnna Garcia last week. Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel attended a lunch with Swisher that day.

Swisher has hit no fewer than 20 home runs in each of his eight full seasons in the big leagues. He batted .272 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs in 148 games during his fourth year with the Yankees in 2012.

Though at this point, Swisher is expected to fill the void left from the departure of right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who was traded to Cincinnati this offseason, he can play first base and could split time there and at designated hitter with Mark Reynolds, should the Cleveland acquire another outfielder.

The Indians are also searching for starting pitching help.

According to the Daily News, which first reported the signing, Swisher can earn a $14 million vested option for the fifth year on his contract with Cleveland that could push the total worth of the deal to $70 million.

 

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.