The market for Nick Swisher has been slow to develop this offseason, but things are beginning to fall into place now that Josh Hamilton has agreed to a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Swisher plans to visit with multiple teams in person next week. It’s not clear what cities are on his itinerary, but the Indians have been his most aggressive suitor until now. The Mariners and Rangers could each be possibilities after missing out on Hamilton and don’t rule out the Red Sox if for some reason they aren’t able to finalize a contract with Mike Napoli.
Swisher, 32, batted .272/.364/.473 with 24 home runs, 93 RBI and an .837 OPS this past season. He turned down a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Yankees to test free agency, so whoever signs him will have to surrender a draft pick.
The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.
Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.
While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.