A number of teams, including the Mariners and Rangers, have expressed interest this offseason in free agent outfielder Nick Swisher. But the Boston Red Sox might be the favorite to actually land him.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Sox “have had ongoing negotiations with Swisher and his agents” over the past few weeks. They’re viewing him as a potential upgrade over Cody Ross, with whom they’ve failed to work out a contract extension despite negotiations that date back to mid-July.
Swisher, 32, batted .272/.364/.473 with 24 home runs and 93 RBI in 148 games this past season for the Yankees.
Ross, 31, hit .267/.326/.481 with 22 homers and 81 RBI in 130 games for Boston.
Swisher would probably start in right field for the Red Sox. He could also provide depth at first base.
The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.
The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.
Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.