The Indians called upon a proven recruiter to land free agent outfielder Nick Swisher.
Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was among a group who had lunch on Tuesday at Progressive Field with Swisher, who is considering a multiyear contract offer from the Indians. Swisher would immediately fill a hole in right field for Cleveland, which traded Shin-Soo Choo to Cincinnati last week and has been trying to improve a team that collapsed in August and finished 68-94.
The 32-year-old Swisher, who spent the past four seasons with the Yankees, arrived in Cleveland on Monday night and went to dinner with new manager Terry Francona, team president Mark Shapiro, and general manager Chris Antonetti.
The Indians played a video on their scoreboard that featured current Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and basketball coach Thad Matta, who encouraged Swisher to join the Indians. Swisher, who played baseball for the Buckeyes, was moved by the gesture.
Swisher left at 2:45 p.m. without giving the Indians an answer. He is expected to visit with other teams before making a decision. Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Francisco are among the teams who have shown interest in him.
A switch hitter, Swisher batted .272 with 24 homers and 93 RBIs in 148 games last season.
Also, Cleveland officially signed first baseman Mark Reynolds to a one-year, $6 million deal.
Rays ink Hernandez/Carmona
The Rays signed righthander Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona.
The one-year deal is worth $3.25 million.
The 32-year-old has pitched seven years with Cleveland. He was 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA last season.
Hernandez was arrested last winter in the Dominican Republic on false identity charges. They were dropped after he completed a work program.
Major League Baseball later suspended him for three weeks. Hernandez sprained his right ankle in August and missed the rest of the year.
Hernandez is 53-69 with a 4.64 ERA in the majors.
Bush sentenced to four years for DUI
Matt Bush, a former top overall major league draft pick for Tampa Bay, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for a drunken driving hit-and-run crash in Florida, his third DUI. As part of a deal, the 27-year-old pleaded no contest to driving under the influence with serious bodily injury. Six other counts in the March crash were dropped. He has already spent nine months in jail. Bush’s attorney, Russell Kirshy, called the deal fair. Bush was the top pick in 2004 and pitched in the minors. The Rays released him in October . . . The Angels will pay $2 million directly to Josh Hamilton’s charitable foundation, The Four Twelve Foundation, under his $125 million contract, and MLB concluded the money will be included as noncash compensation in its Opening Day payrolls. The money also is included in the Angels’ luxury tax payroll.
Righthanded reliever Santiago Casilla completed a $15 million, three-year contract with the World Series champion Giants after passing a physical . . . Pitcher John Lannan and the Phillies finalized a $2.5 million, one-year contract . . . The A’s finalized a $6.5 million, two-year contract with Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima . . . A day after he was traded to Toronto and finalized a $30 million, three-year contract with the Blue Jays, R.A. Dickey confirmed the Mets’ last extension offer before trading him was for two years and $20 million, in addition to the $5 million he was owed for 2013 . . . Detroit’s deal with righthanded pitcher Anibal Sanchez could be worth $91 million if the Tigers decide to keep him for a sixth year in 2018 . . . The Mets obtained outfielder Collin Cowgill from the Athletics for minor league infielder Jefry Marte. Also, Mets closer Frank Francisco had surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.