In a shocking move Friday afternoon, the Indians traded outfielders Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn along with 10 million dollars to the Atlanta Braves. The Indians will receive infielder Chris Johnson in the deal.
Swisher and Bourn did not meet the expectations from Indians fans as well as their salaries expected them too since they signed with the Indians in the 2012-2013 offseason. The injury bug bit the former all stars multiple times and neither could duplicate the success they had before joining the Tribe. Swisher appeared in 272 games for the Indians, batting .228 hitting (career .250 hitter) only 32 home runs. Bourn appeared in 331 games, hitting .257 (career .267 hitter) and only stole 46 bases in 3 seasons with the Indians where he averaged a little under 40 bases per season before signing with Cleveland.
Chris Johnson can play first and third base and the Indians have him under contract through at least 2017. He’s appeared in 56 games this season for the Braves, batting .235 with 2 home runs and 11 RBIs. He missed most of the month of May while dealing with a fractured hand. From 2012-2014, Johnson averaged .287, hit 37 home runs and drove in 202 runs for Atlanta and Houston. He’ll replace Swisher at first base and allow the Indians to slide Carlos Santana to full time designated hitter.
This is a good deal for the Indians. Swisher and Bourn were due a combined 29 million for the 2016 season, which would’ve been a third of the Indians projected payroll. Dumping those salaries and taking back a team friendly contract with Johnson helps the Indians financially and gives them flexibility heading into this offseason.