Nick Swisher is not lacking in confidence and intensity, bro

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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?

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.