Swisher is owed $15 million for the 2016 season, a portion of which will be covered by the Cleveland Indians as part of the trade that sent him and outfielder Michael Bourn to Atlanta. Passan reported last August that Cleveland gave Atlanta $10 million to pay down Bourn's and Swisher's salaries.
While the Braves will be eating some money in order to part ways with the 35-year-old, his departure makes sense. Atlanta has spent the last few years selling off almost all of its most prized major league assets, including outfielders Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, closer Craig Kimbrel and starting pitcher Shelby Miller, whom it acquired in the Heyward deal.
The front office is building a team that will be competitive in a few years rather than in the present. Swisher doesn't fit into those plans.
In addition, Swisher has gone from being one of the more dangerous switch-hitters in the league to an offensive liability. Injuries and the aging curve have done a number on the 2010 All-Star. In the last two years, he played a combined 173 games, and his production cratered as a result, per FanGraphs:
|Nick Swisher—By the Numbers (Since 2013)|
Speaking in February, Swisher was optimistic about this season since his knees are fully healthy for the first time in a few years:
In 42 at-bats this spring, he's hitting .238 with four runs batted in. Even at 100 percent, Swisher may not have much left in the tank, and teams looking to add a something of a veteran mentor to the roster might hesitate to sign him given the way his time with the Cleveland Indians ended, per Cleveland.com's Zack Meisel:
Not all teammates shed a tear when Swisher packed up his belongings and jetted to Georgia. His relentless enthusiasm wore on members of the clubhouse and the fan base, as they longed for numbers in his stat line worthy of those on his paychecks.
The energy and over-the-top bubbly attitude helped eliminate any lasting effects from a defeated team that amassed a 68-94 mark in 2012. When his performance went south, however, his insistence on being the club's commander and cheerleader didn't carry much weight.
With that said, it wouldn't be a major surprise if a team in win-now mode took a chance on Swisher in the hopes he could provide some benefit—whether tangible in terms of on-field performance or more nebulous with regard to clubhouse chemistry.
The Braves, meanwhile, may not be done with their roster reshuffle. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported on March 24 the team is looking to also move Bourn. Atlanta eventually released Swisher after failing to find a trade partner, and the same may happen to Bourn as well.
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