Updated 8:30am CST: According to Bruce Miles and Carrie Muskat, the Cubs have not inquired about Nick Swisher. Miles said on Twitter, his source vehemently denied the report stating the Cubs had inquired about Swisher.
Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday the Indians are “exploring a wide range of options, including a trade of Nick Swisher for another player with an inflated contract.”
Nick Swisher inked a four-year, $56 million deal with Cleveland in December 2012 that includes a $14 million vesting option for 2017. The option becomes guaranteed if Swisher has 550 plate appearances in 2016 and passes a physical at the end of the season.
In an interview Sunday with Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden on The Front Office (MLB Network Radio), Chris Antonneti said he would like to add depth in the starting rotation and a bat this winter. The Indians’ GM also indicated he has “made a lot of progress on the trade front” but was not close to completing any deals at the time.
After Rosenthal made his initial report about the Indians exploring trades for Swisher, he speculated Ryan Howard (Phillies), B.J. Upton (Braves) and Ubaldo Jimenez (Orioles) could be fits with the Indians for Swisher based solely on the players’ ‘bad’ contracts.
During Saturday’s Inside the Clubhouse and a later spot with Barry Rozner on 670 The Score, Bruce Levine said the Cubs had checked in with the Indians about Nick Swisher. And Levine reported Tuesday afternoon the Cubs are “one of the teams that have inquired about Swisher.”
With Cleveland looking to add pitching and exploring options to move Nick Swisher in a trade for another bad contract, could the two teams be discussing an Edwin Jackson for Nick Swisher deal?
Nick Swisher has not performed to expectations in his first two years in Cleveland. Swisher batted only .246/.341/.423 in 145 games with the Indians in 2013. Swisher hit 27 doubles, two triples and 22 home runs for a .763 OPS, the second lowest OPS of his career for a full season.
Swisher followed up his 2013 campaign with a .208/.278/.331 line last season that included 20 doubles and eight home runs in 97 games. Swisher spent time on the DL in late May with a hyper-extended knee and received cortisone shots in both knees at that time according to a report from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Swisher went back on the DL with pain his knees on Aug. 10 before undergoing season-ending surgery on both knees Aug. 20.
Nick Swisher turns 34 next week (Nov. 25) and was looking at a tough recovery from double knee surgery. Swisher had “the medial meniscus arthroscopically repair on both knees” and was facing eight to ten weeks of rehab at the time. Swisher is expected to be fully recovered by Spring Training.
Edwin Jackson is owed $22 million over the last two years of his contract ($11 million per season). Jackson is going to have to earn a spot on the roster in the spring, and it’s believed the front office is trying to move him.
If the Cubs and Indians are talking about an Edwin Jackson for Nick Swisher trade it would not be the first time the front office reportedly talked to another team about taking its bad contract back for Edwin Jackson. A Report in August indicated the Cubs and Braves discussed a Edwin Jackson for B.J. Upton deal prior to the deadline.