CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians are in full court press mode today, working hard to try to talk Ohio native Nick Swisher into a playing with the Tribe.
Swisher arrived in Cleveland last night, and had dinner with Indians President Mark Shapiro. Today he was touring around Progressive Field, a ballpark he is well aware of during his playing time with the New York Yankees, A’s and White Sox.
The Yankees free agent outfielder knows all about the Indians lack of winning in recent seasons, and it will be tough to pull him away from the bright lights of playing in a market like New York, where he won a World Series in his first of four seasons with the Yankees back in 2009.
The Indians though feel they have a lot to offer, the first being a fat contract with a lot of money involved. Some say that the Indians are ready to offer or already have offered him a four-year deal worth near $50 million.
The team also has a new manager with a big league resume in Terry Francona, who comes to the Indians fresh off a season in the broadcast booth wearing two rings when he was the skipper in Boston.
Swisher had lunch in Cleveland meeting with former Ohio State Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel, and co-host of “Bull and Fox,” Dustin Fox of 92.3 The Fan.
Shapiro, Francona, GM Chris Antonetti, and even Paul Dolan were also in attendance for the lunch to court Swisher.
After lunch Swisher and company went back to Progressive Field to continue to talk to Indians executives and to see his name in lights on the scoreboard.
A video message that featured a number of big names including OSU basketball coach Thad Matta was shown to continue to entice the outfielder to want to come home.
“I think he really likes Francona,” Fox said of his impressions of Swisher. “I think money is the biggest deal, but Francona is one of the biggest reasons that he is here.”
Last season Swisher hit .272 with 24 homers and 93 RBI, and would be the prefect fit for the Indians, who last week dealt Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds.
Lifetime Swisher is a .256 hitter. The 32-year-old is also being courted by the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants. He is set to leave Cleveland late today for his next free agent visit.