Buster Olney of ESPN.com writes that the Indians “are making a push in their effort to land” free agent outfielder Nick Swisher, which makes sense considering he was expected to be in Cleveland for a visit at some point this week.
Earlier this offseason the Indians reportedly made Shane Victorino a four-year, $44 million offer that was rejected, so they definitely have some money to thrown Swisher’s way.
Cleveland has been linked to him for most of the offseason, with some reports suggesting they were frontrunners to sign Swisher as far back as a month ago. At age 32 a long-term deal would be risky for the Indians, but Swisher’s production has been remarkably consistent with an OPS between .822 and .870 in each of the past four seasons and seven straight years with at least 148 games.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.