Nick Swisher Rumors

Quick Hits: Haren, Swisher, Ortiz, Astros

Teams must decide by tonight whether to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. MLBTR will have you covered throughout the evening, so be sure to follow along and use MLBTR's Non-Tender Tracker. In the meantime, here are today’s links…

  • The Angels recently checked in on Dan Haren, who’s getting interest from lots of East Coast teams, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
  • Nick Swisher told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that he’s trying to enjoy the process of being a free agent. "It's supposed to be an exciting time, not a stressful time,” Swisher said. “I'm over the stressful part now. I'm going to just have fun with this. I just want to scroll to the bottom line, sign my names in a few places, and get ready to play." The Red Sox, Orioles, Mariners and Rangers have talked to Swisher’s representatives at MVP Sports Group, Nightengale reports. Swisher has also been linked to a number of National League teams, including the Nationals, Phillies, Braves and Giants. The 32-year-old said he will play first base or right field in any city.
  • David Ortiz said on WEEI said the Red Sox "need some thunder in that lineup,” Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The veteran designated hitter explained that he'd like to see the Red Sox re-sign free agent Cody Ross.
  • The Astros almost completed one trade this week, but GM Jeff Luhnow doesn't expect to complete any deals before the Winter Meetings, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Mike Napoli Rumors: Tuesday

It's a good time to be a free agent catcher with power. Interest in Russell Martin remains strong, and the market for Mike Napoli seems similarly active. Here’s the latest on Napoli on a day that he had been scheduled to meet with the Rangers…

  • The Rangers remain focused on Napoli, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Their interest in Martin will increase only if Texas believes Napoli’s asking price is too high.
  • The Red Sox are in contact with Napoli, Nick Swisher and Cody Ross and all three free agents remain in play for Boston, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Napoli, Swisher and Ross appear to be the top targets for the Red Sox, who seek help at first base and in the outfield. One executive said he views the Red Sox as the favorite to sign Napoli. Like Swisher, Napoli has the versatility to play multiple positions, a bonus for the Red Sox.

Heyman On Martin, Ichiro, Swisher

The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com…

  • The Yankees and Russell Martin are discussing a new contract, though Martin appears to be talking to at least one other team. Talks involving the free agent catcher are “heating up,” according to Heyman. The Yankees made progress with Martin over the weekend, though the sides were apart on dollars several days ago. The Rangers have Martin on their list and other teams, such as the Pirates, Mariners and White Sox, are considering catchers.
  • The Yankees are confident they can re-sign Ichiro Suzuki, Heyman reports. The Yankees expect to reach a deal with the free agent outfielder, who has said he hopes to return to New York.
  • The Red Sox, Braves and Giants appear to be looking at Nick Swisher, Heyman reports. The market for Swisher seems strong enough for him to obtain a deal of at least four years and executives see the outfielder signing for $12-14MM per season. The Red Sox like Swisher’s versatility since they have openings at first base and in the outfield. Meanwhile, the Braves and Giants are also looking for corner outfield help.


Poll: Next Top Ten Free Agent To Sign

So far this offseason, only one of Tim Dierkes’ Top Ten Free Agents has signed a new contract: Hiroki Kuroda (#9) re-upped with the Yankees. That’s not at all uncommon at this point of the winter, as most top free agents tend to wait until the Winter Meetings in early-December before deciding on their next baseball home.

The market for outfielders Josh Hamilton (#2), Michael Bourn (#3), B.J. Upton (#5), and Nick Swisher (#6) have been pretty robust so far, ditto Zack Greinke (#1). Anibal Sanchez (#4) has generated some buzz as well, but things have been slow for Edwin Jackson (#7), Dan Haren (#8), and Kyle Lohse (#10). That will change soon enough. One of these guys will soon follow in Kuroda’s footsteps and ink a new deal, but who will it be first?


AL East Notes: Hale, Swisher, Kuroda, Orioles

It was on this day in 1977 that Rich "Goose" Gossage signed a six-year, $2.75MM free agent contract with the Yankees.  The Goose lived up to that then-exorbitant deal, posting a 2.10 ERA and saving 150 games over those six seasons, notching three top-five finishes in Cy Young Award voting and helping New York win the 1978 World Series.  Gossage went into the Hall Of Fame as a Yankee in 2008.

Here's the latest from New York and elsewhere in the AL East…

  • DeMarlo Hale is "likely" going to be the Blue Jays' next bench coach, a source tells MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter link).  Hale served as the Orioles' third base coach in 2012 and was interviewed as a managerial candidate by the Jays two years ago before Toronto hired John Farrell.  Hale's contract may be for three years, reports MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko.
  • The Red Sox have Nick Swisher "on their radar," a source tells George A. King III of the New York Post.  At least seven teams are known to be interested in Swisher, whose ability to switch-hit and play both first base and right field is a boon to many clubs.  King hears from an industry source who believes Swisher could find a four-year, $60MM contract, though with that many teams and big markets in the running, it wouldn't surprise me to see that number jump to between $65-$70MM in guaranteed money.
  • Other teams were offering Hiroki Kuroda more expensive and longer-term deals with player options than the one-year, $15MM contract he signed with the Yankees, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York.  Kuroda took the relatively smaller deal with New York due to his familiarity with the city and his desire to keep his options open next winter for a possible return to Japan.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link) notes that Kuroda has left money on the table for each of the four contracts he's signed in his Major League career.    
  • The Orioles were interested in Jonny Gomes but are "not too heartbroken" that Gomes has signed with Boston, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun.  The O's prefer to use the money earmarked for Gomes to re-sign Nate McLouth instead.
  • In AL East news from earlier today, Josh Johnson's agent Matt Sosnick discussed the possibility of his client signing an extension with the Blue Jays.

Six Teams Interested In Nick Swisher

FRIDAY: In addition to the Rangers and Mariners, the Orioles, Phillies, Giants, Braves, and Nationals all have some level of interest in Swisher, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Several clubs are willing to offer three years, and Heyman estimates an annual salary in the $11-13MM range.

THURSDAY: The Rangers, Mariners and three other teams have "serious interest" in free agent Nick Swisher, reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Unsurprisingly, Swisher plans to reject the Yankees' qualifying offer and look for a long-term contract on the open market.

Swisher would have earned $13.3MM for 2013 had he accepted the Yankees' one-year qualifying offer, and in rejecting the deal, New York can now earn a compensatory draft pick if Swisher signs elsewhere. The Yankees extended qualifying offers to three of their free agents: Swisher, Rafael Soriano (who will decline) and Hiroki Kuroda.

Swisher has averaged 27 homers and an .836 OPS over the last seven seasons, thus making him in high demand amongst teams looking for power and help at first base or right field. Swisher was reportedly looking for a Jayson Werth-esque seven-year/$126MM contract, a number that might be hard to find unless it were to come from a team that may need to overpay to attract a top free agent hitter. The Mariners could be such a team, though they hope moving in the fences at Safeco Field will help.

The Rangers would likely use Swisher primarily at first base, though they could also have a hole in left field should Josh Hamilton leave in free agency. (ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Red Sox also value Swisher for his versatility.) Swisher's three unknown suitors probably don't include the Yankees, as there is reportedly little chance of Swisher returning to New York.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Giants, Affeldt, Hart, Tigers, Soriano

The 4pm CST deadline for players to accept qualifying offers has come and gone and none of the eight players in play opted to return to their respective clubs for a $13.3MM salary in 2013.  That means that Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, B.J. Upton, Adam LaRoche, Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, and Kyle Lohse will net their teams a compensatory pick if they sign elsewhere.  Here's the latest from around baseball..

  • The Giants are confident that they will be re-signing Jeremy Affeldt and the club believes that they will work out a three-year deal, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  GM Brian Sabean indicated yesterday that he is optimistic about being about to keep Affeldt, Angel Pagan, and Marco Scutaro.
  • Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter) that he has not approached Corey Hart's agent about an extension and doesn't have immediate plans to do so.  A report earlier today suggested that the Brewers and Hart were discussing a deal to keep him beyond 2013.  The first baseman/right fielder is set to earn $10MM next season.
  • The Tigers aren't interested in Soriano and plan to stay in-house to find their closer, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  Right-hander Bruce Rondon, 21, will get a chance at the job.  

Heyman On Yankees, Giants, Belt, Red Sox, Hamilton

The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..


AL East Links: Swisher, Orioles, Ross, Cabral

Nine players received qualifying offers this winter, including five from the AL East: Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, B.J. Upton, and David Ortiz. Here's the latest on the division…


Soriano, Swisher, Kuroda Obtain Qualifying Offers

The Yankees extended qualifying offers to Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The players now have one week to accept or decline the offers.

Soriano and Swisher are expected to decline the offers, but Kuroda could accept — he has indicated he’d be content to sign a one-year deal. If he accepts he’d earn $13.3MM on a one-year deal in 2013. If he declines, he’ll be linked to draft pick compensation in free agency — his new team will have to surrender a top selection to sign him. 

The three Yankees figure prominently on MLBTR’s top 50 free agent list. Swisher ranks sixth, Kuroda ranks ninth and Soriano ranks 17th.