The Braves have unconditionally released first baseman/outfielder Nick Swisher, the club announced.
Atlanta had been trying to trade Swisher for much of the offseason but will instead have to eat much of the $15MM owed to the veteran for 2016. The Indians will also be covering a portion of that dollar figure, as the Tribe sent roughly $15MM to cover portions of Swisher and Michael Bourn’s salaries as part of the August trade that brought Chris Johnson to Cleveland in a swap of bad contracts. If Swisher were to sign with a new team, that club would only be responsible for a prorated minimum salary while Atlanta and Cleveland would cover the rest of the $15MM.
Between the salary, Swisher’s age (35), his meager .204/.291/.326 slash line over 661 PA in 2014-15 and the double arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent in 2014, it’s not a surprise that Swisher didn’t generate much trade interest. He did hit decently well during Spring Training, however, and he told MLBTR’s Zach Links earlier this month that he “feels great” physically.
With such a small financial cost attached, there’s a good chance at least one team will explore adding Swisher as a bench bat and a veteran clubhouse presence. An AL team is more likely than an NL team for Swisher since senior circuit clubs wouldn’t have the benefit of the DH spot to preserve his knees. This is just my speculation, but the White Sox stand out as a team that could use some first base/DH depth now that Adam LaRoche has retired.