The Indians' pitch to bring Nick Swisher "home" worked.
Two people familiar with the negotiations told the AP that Swisher has agreed to a $56 million, four-year contract with the Indians, who used the free agent outfielder's deep Ohio connections to convince him to join the club. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because Swisher must take a physical before the deal can be finalized. The Indians are expected to announce Swisher's signing after Christmas.
"Wow! What a crazy few weeks. Hey Cleveland! Are you ready? Because I'm coming home!" Swisher said on Twitter.
The 32-year-old spent the last four seasons with the New York Yankees. A switch-hitter, Swisher hit .272 this season with 24 homers and 93 RBIs.
Swisher will fill an outfield hole for the Indians, who traded Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati. Swisher will play right, with recently acquired Drew Stubbs likely taking over in center with Michael Brantley shifting from center to left field.
Former player dies
Former major league player Ryan Freel has been found dead in his Florida home, and authorities are investigating his death as a possible suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Shannon Hartley said Sunday that the 36-year-old Freel's body was found at his Jacksonville home Saturday afternoon. The medical examiner will make the final determination of the cause of death.
The career of the speedy Freel was cut short after eight seasons by head injuries. He spent six of his eight big-league seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and finished his career in 2009 with a .268 average and 143 steals.