Merry Christmas! Busy with the holidays I missed one noteworthy piece of news from Christmas Eve: outfielder Nick Swisher signed with the Cleveland Indians. Swisher's deal is reportedly for four years and $56 million. Merry Christmas to him!
Swisher once was thought of as an option for the Phillies, but the talk quickly quieted down as his price rose. $14 million a season is indeed a lot of money to pay for a bat, but in an offseason when Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli each get $13 million a year, it does not seem too bad. Of course, the Phillies payroll situation is a different story.
If the Phillies are ineed looking to stay under the luxury tax, they will have to add payroll that has an average annual value of $7 million. The average annual value of a contract counts against the luxury tax, not the 2013 salary. So they could not have signed Swisher to say, $7 million in 2013 and then $16.33 million the remaining three years without going over the cap limit.
It looks more and more like the Phillies will piecemeal the 2013 outfield and attempt to trade for a bat at the deadline should they need one. I personally would have liked to see the Phillies do what the Indians did, which was trade a right fielder for prospects (Shin-Soo Choo) and then sign another one. It keeps the position covered while adding other pieces.