Nick Swisher to Indians: Signing Slugger Doesn't Make Tribe Playoff Contenders

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Nick Swisher to Indians: Signing Slugger Doesn't Make Tribe Playoff Contenders
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Signing Nick Swisher was a fantastic move for the Cleveland Indians.

Truth be told, I don’t believe that there was a better fit for Swisher than in Cleveland—we looked at this very scenario last week.

As reported by Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Swisher got paid handsomely by the Indians (via Twitter):

But while Swisher fits the Indians like a glove, his presence alone won’t be enough to lift Cleveland back into the playoff picture.

While its offense is a potent one and its bullpen solid, there is a major problem that the Indians must do more to address: The starting rotation.

In 2012, Cleveland’s starting rotation was nearly 30 games below .500, pitching to a 48-76 record and a 5.25 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Opposing batters posted a .284/.351/.451 slash line against them.

Take a look at how the projected Indians 2013 starting rotation fared in 2012:

 

W

L

ERA

WHIP

IP

H

BB

SO

Justin Masterson

11

15

4.93

1.454

206.1

212

88

159

Ubaldo Jimenez

9

17

5.40

1.613

176.2

190

95

143

Zach McAllister

6

8

4.24

1.364

125.1

133

38

110

Carlos Carrasco

Did Not Pitch in 2012 (Tommy John Surgery)

Trevor Bauer (With Arizona)

1

2

6.06

1.653

16.1

14

13

17

To be sure, the acquisition of Trevor Bauer (part of the Shin-Soo Choo trade) was a major addition. Bauer has been one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball since Arizona made him the third-overall selection in the 2011 draft.

But Bauer is unproven, and the Diamondbacks were only too happy to be rid of him after questions about his personality and willingness to do what is best for the team popped up in 2012, as the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro wrote:

Does Nick Swisher make the Indians a playoff contender?

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"Jimenez has been a disaster since the day he arrived in Cleveland (13-21 with a 5.32 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 42 starts for the Indians) and Masterson took a major step backwards in 2012, leaving everyone wondering whether his outstanding 2011 (15-11, 3.21 ERA) was indeed a fluke."

McAllister is arguably the best starting pitcher in Cleveland, but he has a total of 26 career starts under his belt.

So yes, while Nick Swisher makes the Indians offense better, while he offers new Indians manager Terry Francona versatility—he can play the outfield and first base—and will be a great influence on youngsters like second baseman Jason Kipnis, his presence alone isn't enough to overcome such horrid results from Cleveland's starting rotation.

Thankfully for the Indians, there is still plenty of time before Opening Day for the club to address this glaring issue.

No time for resting on your laurels, Cleveland. There's work left to be done.

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