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Indians officially sign Swisher, designate Neal

Indians officially sign Swisher, designate Neal
January 3, 2013
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On Thursday the Indians officially announced that they have signed free agent outfielder Nick Swisher to a four year $56 million deal with a vesting club option for 2017. The Indians and Swisher had agreed to terms on a deal back on Sunday December 23rd, but Swisher was unable to come in and take a physical and sign his contract until today to make the deal official.

The Indians unveiled their prized new free agent with a thirty minute press conference, and Swisher was bubbling over with excitement to be a part of the team. He never stopped smiling the entire time and seemed genuinely excited to be coming "home".

"It's going to be great, man," Swisher said.  "It's going to be super exciting. I'm pumped. I'm excited. I feel like I'm smiling a lot."

Swisher hit .272 with 24 homers, 93 RBI, and .837 OPS for the Yankees last season and is expected to be a run producer for the Indians and key cog to their lineup. Terry Francona would not give specifics whether or not Swisher would hit cleanup other than to say he would hit somewhere "smack dab in the middle of the lineup."

To make room for Swisher on the 40-man roster, the Indians designated outfielder Thomas Neal for assignment. Neal hit .314 with 12 homers, 51 RBI and .867 OPS with Double-A Akron last season, and made his Major League debut with the Indians in September and went 5-for-23 in nine games.

Neal was designated for assignment in April and cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A Akron. Since he was previously designated for assignment, cleared waivers, and outrighted, if he happens to clear waivers he has the choice to decline an outright assignment to the minors. Players that have been outrighted more than one time have the option to accept or decline the assignment. If Neal goes unclaimed on waivers, he is expected to decline the outright assignment and would become a free agent.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

Jack
January 4, 2013 - 12:54 PM EST
I don't have a problem with them DFA'ing Neal. I do believe however he's a far better ML option than Canzler. But I don't believe Neal is going to want to come back to Cleveland so I think he's gone. I just think there are better options for him right now.
Tony
January 4, 2013 - 11:04 AM EST
Neal was the odds on favorite to go once Swisher was signed. I like Neal, but he no longer really fit on the 40-man. With Swisher, Brantley and Stubbs, the Indians need more of a defense first outfielder with some good speed and probably who hits left-handed or switch hits to align them with the righty Stubbs. That makes Carrera and Fedroff more valuable than Neal, and why he was the one to go.
Rich
January 4, 2013 - 9:02 AM EST
Tony, what do you think of the Neal DFA? I kind of liked him - he's a right-handed hitting outfielder who put up some nice numbers in AA.

Is he another Ben Francisco?

If the Giants let him go for Orlando Cabrera it's obvious they weren't high on him.

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