Nick Swisher has not had a very good season, his second as the Indians’ full-time first baseman. He has not only struggled at the plate, but has been hampered by injuries and played poor defense at first. As a result, Indians GM Chris Antonelli suggested Swisher could move back to the outfield next season.
Via Paul Hoynes on Cleveland.com:
“Just to rewind a little bit . . .the plan coming into this season was for Nick to play a lot of first base. So he prepared in the offseason and spring training to do that and not play a lot outfield.
“Going into next year the plan could be different. Giving him that head’s up and allowing him the offseason to go out and prepare to be an outfielder, come into camp, get the reps in the outfield that will prepare him better for the season.”
Swisher has played some outfield this season, including starts in each of the last two games, but hasn’t played there regularly since 2012, his last season with the Yankees. The 33-year-old will be entering the second year of a four-year, $56 million contract signed with the Indians in December 2012.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.