Indians officially sign Swisher, designate Neal
January 3, 2013
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.
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Is he another Ben Francisco?
If the Giants let him go for Orlando Cabrera it's obvious they weren't high on him.