Indians' Nick Swisher is congratulated by teammates after home run against Giants during their MLB Cactus League spring training baseball game in Scottsdale

Nick Swisher is not lacking in confidence and intensity, bro


I’m in Goodyear at Indians camp today. I love seeing the Indians people, especially their media relations folks. They’ve always been so nice and accommodating to me. It’s sad, though, that they’re probably going to all be out of a job soon. See, Nick Swisher is on the team now, and with him around there is not much need for public relations. Or season ticket sales people. Or much of anything else.

You see, most teams would like their players to be at a 9 or a 10 when it comes to enthusiasm. Swisher is at a perpetual 17.

I hit the clubhouse at 7:45 and Swisher was marching up and down, coffee in hand, slapping backs, slapping chests, offering up Ric Flair-style “wooo!”s and many, many “bros!” Really, I spoke with Swisher for about three minutes and I got no less than ten “bros.” He’s so excited to be back in Ohio, bro! He’s stoked to be “one of 750 major leaguers, bro!” I mentioned that, like him, I once lived in Parkersburg, West Virginia and he said “I used to live out by the Cracker Barrel on Route 2, bro!” He’s got a daughter on the way. I asked him if he’s still going to be this amped at eight in the morning once the baby arrives and he said he said “don’t bet against me, bro!”

Check him out here:

Thing is, he’s not just like that for video promotions. Jack that up a couple of levels and that’s where he is all the time. I just spoke to Terry Francona and he said about Swisher that “he doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.”

Walking out of the clubhouse, I ran into some of the team media people. I told them that whatever they’re paying Swisher, it’s not enough. They all agreed. He’s probably paid off his contract in increased season ticket sales already.

Right now Swisher’s energy is exactly what the Indians and their fans need. It’s a totally different thing than this team has seen in years. But I do wonder: what happens once the season begins? What happens if the Tribe loses six of their first eight and Swisher struggles?  Will the intensity lag? Will it stay where it is and rub teammates the wrong way? It’s long season and no one can keep up Swisher’s energy for seven months, can they?

Marlins have begun extension talks with Dee Gordon

Dee Gordon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.

Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of

As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.

“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”

The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.