Nick Swisher is so Cleveland

by Cleveland Frowns on December 28, 2012

Since the Cleveland Indians signed free agent Nick Swisher to what’s effectively a 5-year $70 million contract last week, I’d been trying to figure out what’s more depressing: Is it that the largest free agent contract in franchise history has gone to a 32-year-old corner outfielder on the downswing of his career, who’s only made an All Star team once, and has a .169 batting average and .283 on base percentage with 8 RBI in 181 career postseason plate appearances? Or is it that MLB’s wretched economics have so battered Cleveland baseball fans that many of them have met this news with enthusiasm, even unbridled enthusiasm, including cheers of “Merry Swishmas,” and worse?

But then I read this column at Cleveland.com by Mike Brandyberry, titled “Nick Swisher fits perfectly in Cleveland,” and now I’m sure that the answer is “both,” and that the problem is worse than I thought.

SwishMom

Look:

“Since Nick Swisher agreed to his four-year, $56 million contract on Sunday, baseball analysts and fans have wondered, “Why would he want to go to Cleveland?”

Four years, $56 million. Actually, 5 years, $70 million. That’s $14 million a year for five years, almost entirely guaranteed upon execution of the contract. Not only is that a metric shit-ton of cash, it’s more than five times what the Yankees offered him. New York, for whom Swisher had played for the least 4 seasons, was only willing to sign Swisher for one year, at $13.3 million for one year. And there’s no report anywhere that so much as suggests there was another Major League Baseball club that would have given Swisher — who “reportedly had been hoping for a $100 million deal” — anywhere close to as much money as the Indians did over so many years. It’s clear enough that “Cleveland was the only serious suitor for Swisher,” who’s said to have “preferred to play for a large market team like the Yankees, Angels, or Dodgers, but none had a spot for him in their budget this winter.”

So why would Nick Swisher want to go to Cleveland? For $70 million dollars that he couldn’t get anywhere else. Mystery solved. Where’s my Couch bottle?

But there’s more.

“Swisher seems like the perfect fit for Cleveland. He’s hit more than 20 home runs in eight consecutive seasons and becomes the replacement to Shin-Soo Choo in right field for the next four seasons. Swisher just turned 32 years old a month ago and will be only 35 when his contract with the Tribe expires, 36 if the fifth-year option vests.”

Swisher replaces Shin-Soo Choo, who’s two years younger than Swisher and a better baseball player by most every measure, which is why the Indians couldn’t afford to keep Choo. In this way, Swisher does seem like the perfect fit for Cleveland.

“But why would the trendy, husband of an actress, glamour boy who has been a part of the New York scene for the last four years want to come to Cleveland? New York stars don’t leave the Yankees for the Indians for more money very often, like ever. In any regard, it is bizarre at least.”

New York “stars” don’t leave the Yankees for the Indians for more money very often, or, like ever, because the Indians don’t very often, or, like ever, at least until this Swisher deal, actually offer free agents more money than the Yankees do. It is in fact extremely bizarre that the Indians decided to offer this particular free agent more than five times as much money as the Yankees did, but the fact that Swisher accepted that money once it was offered to him is probably actually one of the least bizarre things that’s ever happened on earth.

But we do have a trendy glamour boy now. #RollTribe

RollTribe

“Maybe Cleveland fits Swisher perfectly.”

What trendy glamour boy wouldn’t Cleveland fit perfectly?

“The switch-hitting slugger heads to Cleveland as one of the biggest free agents to ever sign in any sport in this town. And while Kerry Wood (2009) and Larry Hughes (2009) each came to the Lakefront for supporting roles, not since Jamal Lewis (2007) or Jeff Garcia (2004) has a player come to town and been expected to be a leader of any team and greatly impact their record.”

Jamal Lewis. Jeff Garcia. And instead of diving straight for the nearest methadone clinic, we’re celebrating Swishmas.

“It’s almost certainly the biggest free agent signing for the Tribe since they inked Roberto Alomar in 1999. To be fair, while Alomar was a star, he joined a team full of stars and leaders—including his brother Sandy—and did not have the pressure to be the team leader, just a run producer on an already high-powered offense.”

This is a good point. The last time the Tribe made such a splash in free agency, they did it to sign Roberto Alomar, a nine-time All Star and legit first-ballot Hall of Famer, one of the best to ever play his position, when he was younger than Swisher is today. When this happened, Alomar wasn’t expected to be one of the most important bats in the lineup or leaders in the clubhouse. He was just another on a team full of stars and leaders. But to be fair, this was in an era when nobody would have ever imagined MLB’s economics becoming as skewed as they are today.

“Swisher joins a team of young players with very little postseason experience and only Asdrubal Cabrera having played in a playoff game in Cleveland. No longer is he one part of the high-powered Yankee offense destined for the playoffs.”

If a team with very little postseason experience needs anything, it’s a guy who’s firmly established himself as one of the worst postseason performers in baseball history. And with Swisher no longer afforded the protection of the high-powered Yankees lineup, there’s no telling how much worse he’ll get.

“He, along with Manager Terry Francona, become the face of the franchise before ever taking the field.”

The face of the franchise: A 32-year-old historic postseason flop who’s made one All Star team and who nobody else wanted to sign. My Couch bottle. Where is it?

“And while his New York swagger will be needed to instill confidence inside the Indians’ locker room, he has a whole lot more Cleveland attitude than we realize.”

“New York swagger.” Yahoo’s Dave Brown notes that, “Swisher’s notorious personality (everyone gets a high-five all the time!) … can be fun for a while but also grating over the long haul.” According to Brown, “[Swisher's] teammates in New York were said to be over him.”

But about that “Cleveland attitude”:

In [the 2002] draft, Swisher was [A's GM Billy] Beane’s top choice of any player in the draft. The Athletics drafted Swisher with the 16th overall pick, but would have taken him first if they had the top pick. The New York Mets passed on Swisher with the 15th pick, electing to go with Scott Kazmir—their sixth favorite selection in the draft. Swisher headed to Oakland with the confidence of a first round pick, yet the chip on his shoulder of knowing he was passed over and doubted by many. You don’t have to look far for that combination in Clevelanders.

Whether or not Major League Baseball’s draft is such a crapshoot that teams shouldn’t expect first round picks to make more than one All Star team or hit over the Mendoza Line in more than 100 postseason plate appearances, we should still hold fast to the idea that having a chip on one’s shoulder for being at best slightly overrated is not actually a common trait among Clevelanders.

In 2005, when Swisher’s grandmother Betty died after a battle with cancer, he had her initials tattooed over his heart and grew his hair out for more than a year. In May 2007, he flew his father across the country to make the emotional haircut on the field in Oakland before donating his locks to make wigs for women who were battling cancer and going through chemotherapy.

He once dyed his goatee pink in Oakland on Mother’s Day to bring awareness to breast cancer and blue on Father’s Day for prostate cancer awareness.

Likes tattoos and hair dye. Dislikes cancer. Does it get more Cleveland than this?

Swisher also never forgot where he came from. He donated $500,000 to Ohio State to help renovate its baseball stadium and install new field turf. His donation was honored when the field was dedicated on Nov. 3, 2011, as Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.

By the time Swisher’s contract with the Indians is up, he’ll have made at least $85 million dollars playing baseball, and probably more than $100 million. $500,000 is half of one percent of that. But one thing we know about Clevelanders is that if you caught one of them with a loose $20 in his pocket, and could make a convincing case that you could really use five cents from that $20, the average Clevelander would probably come up off of that nickel. And you wouldn’t even have to name a baseball stadium after him for it. #HappyinCLE

“Never forget where you came from,” could be the Cleveland motto.

Could be! One day. But it has a long way to go before it passes “Long Live Wahoo!” in the Cleveland motto rankings.

However, what might be most Cleveland-like of Swisher was his choice to sign a five-year, $26.75 million contract with Oakland in May 2007. He was content to stay in Oakland and compete, despite a small team payroll and even smaller attendance and fan support. Cleveland is much like Oakland; fans support their baseball team when it wins—not so much when its doesn’t. Times are tough, good jobs aren’t easy to find.

What might be most Cleveland-like about Swisher is that he wanted to live and work in California.

Swisher didn’t choose to go to Oakland when he was drafted in 2002, but he did commit to them long term.

He didn’t choose to be traded to the Chicago White Sox just seven months after signing his long-term contract, nor did he choose to be traded to the New York Yankees in November 2008.

Either that or that he wanted to live and work in a certain place, but couldn’t find someone to give him a job there.

“He was great for us. We’ll miss him, but I’m happy for him. I think Cleveland got a bargain,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said this week to the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand.

Cashman most likely knows something about Swisher that Clevelanders don’t.

Right. The five-time World champion GM who would only offer Swisher less than one-fifth what the Indians will pay him likely knows something about Swisher that Clevelanders don’t. GLUG, GLUG, GLUG, GLUG, GLUG

Cashman must know Swisher has the willingness to lead, along with the chip-on-your-shoulder attitude, long-term dedication and love for family that most Clevelanders have. However, as much as Swisher might fit in Cleveland, he also has a trait most Clevelanders do not that might make him even more endearing.

He chose to come to Cleveland.

For $70 million dollars.

To hell with Major League Baseball, and to the garbage with the Cleveland.com sports page. See you Sunday for the final chapter of Shurmurball. Hope everyone’s weekend gets off to a decent start in the meantime.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    No hard feelings re: Brandyberry. I mostly blame Bud Selig, Stockholm Syndrome, and Cleveland.com.

    While we’re here, here’s Terry Pluto on the same subject: http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/blog/index.ssf/2012/12/nick_swisher_signing_is_a_stun.html

    “The signing of Nick Swisher ($56 million for four years) is a sign that ownership knows it has to do something.”

    Yet not at all a sign that ownership knows what that something is.

    “Some baseball people have questioned the signing of Swisher, saying why overpay for a 32-year-old when your team is not ready to contend.

    Mmm-hmm. Non-baseball people, too.

    The Indians know that these experts don’t fully comprehend the gloom hanging over the franchise.

    If only these experts knew what gloom was they would know how smart it is to spend all your money to buy a $70 million band-aid for the papercut on your finger while your massive leaking headwound remains untreated.

    Now, we’ll see what else they do before spring training. At the very least, this offseason at least has their hard-core fans paying attention once again.

    Until they figure out how much good a band-aid does. Which is apparently all that counts. It’s getting a lot harder to see MLB lasting more than 10 more years in this town.

    • jpftribe

      if you want to see what MLB looks like in ten years, take a look at the EPL in the UK. The same 4-6 teams have a legitimate shot at winning the cup year in and year out, the rest take their pride in being able to stay in the league and not be relegated. The salary disparity between the top 4 clubs and everyone else is monumental.

      Chelsea are the Yankees with an eccentric billionaire Russian owner constantly firing managers and throwing huge money at the best players. He paid 50 million British pounds for the right to sign Torres to a 35M a year contract. And the guy was coming off knee surgery. You have Man City, Man U and Arsenal with deep pockets, everyone else fighting to survive, and usually slashing players to do so.

      • 910Derp

        Free market capitalism at it’s finest; makes the NFL look like a bunch of Pinkos.

  • nj0

    While I agree with your general assessment, Swisher has actually posted higher WARs than Choo over the last two seasons.

    Also, the article that states that only ACab and Swisher have playoff experience is wrong since we have also added Drew Stubbs, Bryan Shaw, and Mark Reynolds.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      The main point here is that for the same money no team in baseball would take Swisher over Choo.

      • nj0

        I agree that the seeming complete lack of interest in Swisher from the rest of the baseball world is disconcerting at best.

        As for Choo, I am one of the few people who think that his best days may be behind him. I am actually glad we traded him and got what we did.

        I am still very confused about what Antonetti’s plan is for the rest of the roster. I actually would have preferred an honest to god rebuild.

        Statistically speaking, Swisher for Choo is a lateral move. Reynolds and Stubbs hovered around replacement level last season (which actually would be an improvement over what we had in the OF/1B last year). Aviles is an improvement to the bench.

        But how much better are we? So maybe if those guys really light it up, we added 3 or 4 wins for $20 odd million which puts us at 72 wins. Our starting pitching still sucks, all five starters too, and we haven’t really done to address that.

        • bupalos

          I think what they are counting on is the the “beta”(meant in the stock sense) on pitching is much higher than hitting, both because each pitcher is harder to predict, and because there are less of them. When you’re just kind of sitting around hoping to have 1 or 2 good seasons out of 5 (you can’t do better because you can’t pay players), the rational thing to do is get an average+ lineup and hope the pitching roll of the dice works out.

          It could. You could see Seniõr Flailsalot finding something. Masterson as well. Then one or two of those other guys comes through and you’re in the ballgame. I see the sense of it, but again, it’s ultimately a losing strategy that is forced on the victims of the system.

          • nj0

            I get it. It’s just a shame that our plan boils down to – hope we get lucky.

            I’d rather see us save money, trade all our assets, acquire prospects, draft smart, and develop from within.

          • bupalos

            Since “save money” means “owner pockets money” I can’t agree. And the draft smart, develop from within path is itself withering a bit from competitive imbalance, as arb inflation follows FA inflation. Witness the Santana contract, which is a great value contract but was given just to avoid the arb years.

            It starting to look like there is a growing tier of teams, to which the Indians now belong, where the most rational, most winning strategy is to keep payroll in the bottom 3rd and just throw dice on pitchers.

          • nj0

            I don’t think “save money” necessarily means “owner pockets money”. Why spend $20M in 2013 to make your team a 74 win team, when you could save that money and use it in 2015 to make your team a 88 win team?

      • bupalos

        Especially not for that term. I can agree that Swisher is near equal to Choo overall right now (part of that equation is that he is a known commodity and I think Choo has shown signs of being potentially erratic.) But if Choo were to sign a long term today, it would probably be more like 18MM, he’s clearly way more valuable, glove, legs, arm, and bat into the bargain.

        This is another deal where I think Indians management is doing about as well as it can; cash in Choo while you can get some assets out of it, pay a premium for the same commodities the Yanks get at a discount. Because you have to. But really these types of Swishmas trees just obscure the forrest of competitive imbalance. That the Indians seem content to play this game to the hilt is disappointing, but certainly not surprising. Glad someone is here to put things in something like the right perspective.

        • nj0

          Choo at his best is better than Swisher. Problem is his erratic nature you mentioned. Consistency is good.

          But still, we basically swapped a good player for a good player. I don’t think this move makes the 2013 Tribe any better than the 2012 Tribe.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          Exactly. The main problem here is in how content the organization is in its instituionalism.

      • WFNYJon

        “The main point here is that for the same money no team in baseball would take Swisher over Choo.”

        This is probably correct, mostly because of the age difference. The point remains that Choo will likely make more than twice what Swisher just signed for in free agency though, so the idea that a team could choose either at the same price is kind of irrelevant. Look at the Jayson Werth contract as an example of what Choo will get.

        Mostly agree on the “Swisher is So Cleveland” nonsense. He came here because ownership backed up a dumptruck full of money to him–more than anyone else did. All the other stuff is overlaid touch-feely narrative stuff.

        But that’s different than to suggest he’s not worth the money. If he stays heathy (if….IF….) he’ll likely be worth the money, considering inflationary pressure on MLB salaries. SEA reportedly was willing to pay just as much, except their first round pick wasn’t protected and they weren’t willing to part with it. In other words, they were comfortable with the price, just not giving up a 1st round pick (which we didn’t have to do).

        You also seem to misunderstand the NYY offer. The only way they can get a compensatory draft pick if he signs elsewhere is to go through the formality of making him a lowball “qualifying” offer in the immediate days following the World Series. It wasn’t their assessment of his value; it was their insurance against losing him to free agency. No players signed these qualifying offers, so teams make sure to make the perfuntory offer just to guarantee a free draft pick.

        Which, I think, probably proves your point about the crumbling system and shaky foundation of MLB, but the distinction seems important.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          Don’t really disagree with this except for the general idea that it was good for the Tribe to give Swisher all this cash. Appreciate the perspective.

          • BIKI024

            the other thing to note is that next year’s free agent class is even weaker than this year.. so if Swish has a solid season, the Tribe could put him on the block and he might be of value to a team who would find his contract to be enticing and who they would flip some valuable prospects for in return. while there would be still 3 years left (with team option for 4th), $14m for a guy hitting .275 with 30 homers could be a deal for teams who don’t flinch at those type of contract figures.

            as far as the Yankees, they are on a cost cutting mission this season, but who knows, they may end up being the team who takes him back in the next year or two..

          • jaws.

            I don’t think you have to be *this* negative about this move. Yes, swisher could get injured and never perform up to the level of his contract. Yes, people are just a little too over the moon for a guy who is basically a switch-hitting version of choo with a little bit more power. But it does make the choo trade look good: We got a pretty good package for a guy that we were only going to control for one more year and then replaced him with a similar player for four years. and all he cost us was money (which we’ve got from the STO sale) and a second round pick.
            Besides: Swish’s deal is actually ‘reasonable’. Who did you want them to pony up for? Hamilton? If we’re always gonna complain about the tightwad Dolans, when they actually show signs of spending thoughtfully we shouldn’t go and rip them.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            You seem to be missing the point, a significant part of which being that I think people who complain about the Dolans being tightwads are idiots.

        • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

          auto-like-button when wfnyjon stops by.

      • Steve

        As has been said, that is irrelevant. Choo is going to get much more money. The Indians kept the talent in RF at the same level, but extended it for four to five years instead of just one. In the same breath, they also turned their old RF into an talented young pitcher (something they desperately needed). Swisher isn’t a sign that the team thinks they are suddenly contending, he’s just a sign that they’re sick of running Damons and Duncans out there. He didn’t cost any young talent that would slow the rebuilding process, and the payroll is not going to go up significantly because of him.

        It’s a bit odd, but I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. He’s a pretty good player who will help make this team better. He’s not going to be the savior of the team but in MLB economics, he’s not getting paid like one either. He’s simply a nice player to have.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          I see where you’re coming from but what we’re talking about here is the largest free agent contract this franchise has ever given a player, and I believe if you count the fifth year, the largest contract this franchise has ever given any player. That in and of itself is depressing. Especially so when one considers all the talent that’s gotten away here.

          • BIKI024

            what’s depressing is that Swishy’s contract isn’t even the Top 10 of OF’s, or Top 40 in the entire league.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            That’s depressing too.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            This contract takes me back to the halcyon days of Wayne Garland.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Pass the halcyon.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            In a minute, I am busy loading it down with Bath Salts.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            If you don’t cop from Mary Kay’s source I’m not interested.

          • Steve

            Money has been thrown around willy-nilly in MLB. The Indians are late to the supposedly silly contract party. A lot of that is because its almost impossible to get free agents to come to this town. Regarding the talent leaving, I’m not sure what they really could do. Lee, Sabathia (like Thome, Ramirez and Belle before them) were dead set on getting the most money possible. Cleveland isn’t winning that battle.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Well, except for maybe the team with the curse.

  • http://twitter.com/WayneEmbrysKids WayneEmbrysKids
    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      They compare the signing to getting socks for Christmas. They also don’t seem especially sensitive to the plight of the Cleveland baseball fan, but that’s sort of beside the point.

      • nj0

        The question also remains – why are we spending so much money on fancy socks when we don’t have pants or a coat?

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          Or a Tim Couch bottle.

          • nj0

            I’m holding out for some Thad Lewis gin.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Thad starting in Pittsburgh weather is definitely whiskey weather. I don’t think this is up for debate.

          • nj0

            Touche

      • Beeej

        Dumbledore wanted a nice pair of wool socks more than anything else in the world and he was the most powerful wizard in the Harry Potter universe.

  • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris Mc

    Swisher replaces Shin-Soo Choo, who’s two years younger than Swisher and a better baseball player by nearly every conceivable measure, which is why the Indians couldn’t afford to keep Choo.

    The Scott Boras angle should be addressed also. No matter how much money Choo was offered, Boras never would have let him resign here. Trading him now was the prudent thing to do while he had some value, instead of at the trade deadline when the “haves” understand that if the Indians don’t trade him, they get nothing for him at the end of the year.

    • http://twitter.com/WayneEmbrysKids WayneEmbrysKids

      Trying to remember Choo’s platoon split. It was crazy bad against lefties, no? Choo vs lefties in 2012: .199/.318/.286

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      I’m not at all saying that they shouldn’t have dumped Choo.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Wake up call for Frownie!

    ” has a .169 batting average and .283 on base percentage with 8 RBI in 181 career postseason plate appearances”

    Playoffs, Playoffs (please read in Jim Mora voice).
    Frownie, why would the Indians care about how a player does in the playoffs?

    • GrandRapidsRustlers

      This. If he hits .100 in the playoffs this year I will be pretty happy.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Me too, GRR, that was my point.

  • Jim

    Nice post. Very FireJoeMorgan-esque. A couple of points:

    1) Swisher was as good, if not better, than Big League Chew last season. Better Slg., OPS, WAR, and power numbers. This is not to say that in a sane world, either player is worth $14 million a year. But MLB is not a sane world. There are 47! players in major league baseball that will make more than Nick Swisher next season.

    2) The signing does not make sense in terms of where the team currently is contention-wise. As the team currently stands, they still need at least one front of the rotation starter (and possibly two, along with anything that resembles consistency out of the rest of the rotation), and a DH (if they plan to play Reynolds at 1st and Stubbs in centerfield). In other words, Nick Swisher does not begin to fill in all the holes.

    3) This move was most likely made to placate a vocal majority of the fans of the team who believe that the Indians’ problems stem entirely from the teams “refusual” to “spend” money, as opposed to its terrible drafting and inability to obtain major league talent in a number of high profile trades over the past few years.

  • thebearchoo

    Not sure what measures you’re using to claim Choo is better than Swisher. Swisher has been a model of consistency throughout his career, while Choo batted .199 (!) against lefties last year, with a split that’s increased yearly the last few seasons. That is not a good sign for a baseball player. That split alone, regardless of any other measures (which are even at the least), should make Swish a better option: having players who suck it up for half of their games do not make good baseball teams.

    Having a guy with consistent ability from both sides of the plate will considerably help a lineup that was so helpless against lefties last season. I don’t see any reason to not be pleased with the offseason Antonetti/Shapiro have put together given their follies in the last couple.

    If they’d sign a Joe Saunders-type starting pitcher to eat some innings and to provide some buffer for the inevitable Ubaldo dumpster fire, I’d say they could be half-decent. Probably not playoffs or anything, but better at least, short-term and long-term. I’ll take that given that going into the offseason I was just hoping for the whole roster to be blown up.

    If there’s something to be pissed about here, it’s still them passing up on Willingham last winter.

    • Jim

      The failure to sign Willingham is even more glaring in light of the financial committment the team just made to Swisher. Apparently the Indians were set to contend last season, but balked at giving Willingham a third year. He ended up signing with the Twins at $8 million a year. Now, a year later, and during a season where most believe the team is nowhere near contention, they sign Swisher, a similar hitter to Willingham, to a four year deal at more than twice the money they balked at giving Willingham.

      • thebearchoo

        That’s exactly what I was getting at with the Willingham thing. To lock up a .850+ OPS guy for $8 million is a rare opportunity at this point in the big leagues, and the Indians really shit the moneybag on that one. That being said, they shouldn’t not sign other players just because they balked a year ago. It was a mistake, you take the consequences and move on.

        The problem with the system is you get GMs giving Ryan Howards and Jayson Werths the massively overpriced deals, and then the rest fall like dominos.

        • BIKI024

          29 other teams whiffed on Willingham too, no one expected him to have the year that he had. hindsight 20/20

          • thebearchoo

            That assumes that every other team had a need to fill. He was coming off a bit of a down year but he’d hit above average for pretty much his whole career (and the .810 OPS from the year before was still better than most of our lineup). Given what was expected between the Indians and the Twins, he was easily within grasp. I know plenty of people, including myself, who were screaming for the move to be made.

            It doesn’t take much hindsight to have understood that he was a better bet than the walking muscle strain Sizemore. To not give Willingham an extra year due to durability issues and turn and sign Grady was ridiculous.

          • BIKI024

            again, hindsight 20/20, you win some you lose some. it is what it is. but it really is amazing how great it is to be an armchair GM.

          • http://twitter.com/cpmack Chris Mc

            Comparing his career numbers prior to him having a nice year last year is completely unrelated to hindsight. He would have filled a need that they’ve had for a couple of years, and the Indians choked yet again.

          • BIKI024

            woulda coulda shoulda. again, plenty of teams choked on him, including his previous team, the A’s who had a need there as well. If he’s not good enough for Mr. Moneyball himself, then not sure it’s fair to blame the Indians for choking on an injury-prone player, without the benefit of hindsight. congrats to the Twins for winning their gamble on Willy, at least for his performance this past season. we’ll see how many games he plays this year and what his numbers are. either way, we sure have a lot of talented potential GM’s in Cleve.

          • thebearchoo

            It’s amazing how being critical of one move makes someone an armchair GM.

          • BIKI024

            mazel tov, u called it with Willy! derp

          • Steve

            Giving a guy a 3rd year, and taking a flier on a one year deal are different things. It is a mistake to conflate them.

          • BIKI024

            especially taking on a guy who at age 33 hadn’t had much experience as an everyday player.

            again, cheers to the Twins for taking a chance on him and coming up spades in Year 1 of the 3 year deal. his production in Year 1 was probably equivalent to half the value of his entire contract already, so they did well. But for every Willingham or Kubel there’s a Cuddyer or Crisp, DeJesus, etc..

          • thebearchoo

            When one of those guys barely scraped together 100 games and performed very poorly in those games, I don’t think it’s a mistake to conflate them.

          • Steve

            You’re talking about Sizemore in 2009? He was as valuable as Willingham in 2011. 106 games of a 110 OPS+ with solid defense in CF is worth as much as 136 games of a 121 OPS with terrible defense in a corner. You’re wildly underestimating the value of defense.

          • thebearchoo

            I was talking ’10 and ’11 combined. At this point it’s splitting hairs but moral of the story, this was one move that drove me nuts. I’m normally not one to complain and think our front office does a pretty good job given the rock and hard place that they’re usually put between.

  • Beeej

    Isn’t this our last “window of contention” year for a while? Why not go all in with Swisher? Instead of brooms fans can bring swiffers to the stadium. They sound almost the same.

    • nj0

      You’re thinking of 2007.

  • Brian Sipe

    I am pumped with what the Tribe has done. With that said I think our payroll is still a joke and I just learned they got $250 mill for STO and will get $40 mill per year to broadcast Tribe games. There is no reason on earth this team cannot spend $85 mill per year.

    • Jim

      That is only $10 million more per year then generated when the Indians owned the station. We are not talking about LA-type television deal money here.

      • nj0

        Not to mention that salaries have increased in MLB by about 40-50% over the last ten years. By 2020, that $40M is going to seem even more pathetic.

        • Brian Sipe

          you are missing the little part about $250 mill for the station. We had a $105 mill payroll 15 years ago.

          Wake up guys… We also get $30 mill in revenue sharing. So that alone is $70 mill and we have not even gotten to the box office, merch, etc.

          Tiger’s have no larger TV deal than us, they have to pay a huge fine for going over the soft cap. So they are spending probably $160 mill per year on payroll with penalty included.

          We are paying $35 mill a year for payroll when you subtract the free $30 mill we get from other teams. It is a joke.

          • BIKI024

            Our payroll was barely $55m in 1997, not sure where you are getting your facts.

            as far as Detroit, their attendance figures are nearly DOUBLE ours.

          • nj0

            Superfan, I think we disagree on every Browns point and agree on every Indians point. Strange bed fellows and all that.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Come on Frownie, you have to give nj0 at least one “COOL IT!”
            nj0 said “bedfellows”.
            Or is this just some political thing?

          • Steve

            The Tigers are getting $50 million per year from their local TV deal. This is not the comment section to just start making shit up.

          • nj0

            105M in 97? LOL LOL LOL!

            Way to just make shit up.

          • BIKI024

            1. An estimate of the current Tribe payroll for 2013 is about $70 million. While they only have the following under contract for 2013: Swisher ($11 million), Asdrubal Cabrera ($6.5 million), Mark Reynolds ($6 million), Ubaldo Jimenez ($5.75 million) and Carlos Santana ($600,000), there are players such as Chris Perez, Justin Masterson, Drew Stubbs and others who are eligible for arbitration and will receive raises.

            2. The Tribe’s payroll was about $65 million last season. I hear they could spend perhaps another $10 million this year, taking it to $80 million. They are shopping for a starting pitcher, be it in a trade or free agency. In other words, they are willing to add payroll.

          • BIKI024

            via Porno Terry

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    If y’all really want to talk about a guy who’s Cleveland, look who I bumped into on St. Clair today.

    https://twitter.com/ClevelandFrowns/status/284762535268319233

    • CleveLandThatILove

      Who recognized whom?

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        It was mutual, obv.

    • nj0

      Is there an official list of Who’s Cleveland? An advanced stat? WCR from ESPN maybe? Many may disagree, but I think this dude would rank pretty high up there.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i9aIjLcf-8

  • BIKI024

    Chips’ baby bro in some deep trouble down South.. Brad McCoy has some explaining to do! http://deadspin.com/case-mccoy-sexual-assault/

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      Damn.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    see your oakley and raise you mo isom.

    grand rapids and me talking duke punters last nite,
    leads to brad wing brad wing talk,
    leads to mo isom links,
    leads to mo saying hi. !!

    oakley looks good for sure, but can he do this?

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      It’s good to see that she hasn’t let her global celebrity get to her head.

    • GrandRapidsRustlers

      Weird…in 24 hours I went from having no idea who she was to her sending me a message on Twitter when I never even knew she was on Twitter.

      I still demand that she is our next punter. She can’t be any worse than Hodges.

      • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

        i’m still in favor of dumping hope solo and replacing with mo. (and wasn’t she nice to say hi?)

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          I vote for Mope Solo.

          • nj0

            I didn’t care for the prequels.

        • GrandRapidsRustlers

          Sounds good to me…I think Jerramy Stevens may just make that change for us though. (I’m not even trying to be funny…that dude is crazy. Run away Hope.)

          I still think it’s hilarious to look at the timeline for Mo and there we are….damn she has time to say hi to me? I’ll watch a game I don’t like for 30 minutes if it means getting up to find the remote and she is scanning Twitter for people referencing her…I think she has the hot and crazy axis maxed out.

  • BIKI024

    CHEDDAR BAY:

    NAVY +14.5

    • BIKI024

      TEXAS +2.5

  • George

    Nick Swisher is Jack Parkman. Drew Stubbs is Willie Mays Hays(Epps version where he tries to hit home runs) ….. I smell playoffs

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      LOL.

  • Jim

    It should also be pointed out that the fifth year of Swisher’s contact is only guaranteed if he has at least 550 at bats in 2016. Swisher has only hit that number twice in his career, so it is a good bet that he does not in fact reach that number at age 36.

  • BIKI024

    CHEDDAR BAY:
    JAX +4

  • Roosevelt

    I’m sorry I didn’t see this article when it was new because I was more interested in the Browns. I don’t usually agree with you, but I agree with every single word in this article, and it’s incredibly depressing to me that people in Cleveland see this as some sort of step forward. It’s not. It’s just confirmation that there will be no step forward, ever.

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