Congrats to the Indians for getting their man, Nick Swisher. If you are going to go down a path you have to hit it hard and the Indians did.
The only issue is will this be enough and, if it isn't, can the Indians bring in more talent to help justify the Jimenez trade and the Swisher signing. Time will tell.
Now let's consider the aftermath of his signing.
Is the contract bloated? Yeah, somewhat, but not so bloated that Swisher couldn't be traded if we ate about $4 million of the contract per year. I mean, would you rather have Swisher with his contract or the mediocre Edwin Jackson with his or the overpaid (now) Cody Ross with his? Both contracts are similar to Swisher's, just for a little less money or fewer years. Still, I would take Swisher and his contract any day.
So, assuming we get good performance out of Swisher, this is a good signing for the present.
What about the future?
Note that in the 2012 draft there were 28 extra picks between the first and second round. In 2011 it was 26. In 2013 there are likely to be 1-2 extra picks before the second round. That means that the 37th pick, where the Indians would have drafted in the second round in 2013 would have been more like an early supplemental 1st round pick in previous years. A big loss in talent we could have grabbed, to be sure..
However, all is not lost. Let's look at 2012 more closely. The Indians signed Tyler Naquin (1st round) to an underslot bonus. That gave us $500,000 to spend later in the draft but, with Naquin, we likely got another Trevor Crowe-like player. The 2012 draft will be made by the guys we spent the excess we saved on Naquin's pick, NOT on Naquin but we couldn't have signed those other guys without the money we saved on Naquin..
Now, in 2013 we could have had a draft bonus pool of close to $7.5 million IF we kept our second round pick that we have forfeited for signing Swisher. Still, even losing the 37th pick and its $1.5 million bonuse we will be closer to $6 million (see list below) which is STILL about $1.5 million higher than our budget for 2012!
Likely 2013 Indians bonus slots
5th - $3.5 million
70th - $740,000
100th - $470,000
130th - $340,000
160th - $260,000
190th - $195,000
220th - $160,000
250th - $140,000
280th - $130,000
310th - $125,000
There are two pieces of good news here:
1. The slot for the 5th overall slot gives the Indians some flexibility. Last year the Royals signed the #5 pick for $3 million, saving $500,000 for later picks and he was the 3rd best prospect in the draft as rated by BA. So our savings could easily match what we saved on our first round pick last year and look what we did with that extra money!
2. The slots of the Indians' picks in 2013 are very similar to 2012 when they drafted 15th, 79th, 110th, 143rd, 173rd, 203rd, 233rd, 263rd, 293rd, 323rd meaning that if they got value out of the 2012 draft they can, in theory, get the same value out of the 2013 draft IF they save $500,000 or more on the 5th overall pick. .
So, while people are bemoaning the loss of the second round pick, and it is a big loss, the 2013 draft for the Indians could give us the same relative talent, or even better considering we are drafting 5th in the first round instead of 15th like we did in the 2012 draft. We won't get the same volume of talent in next year's draft as if we had kept that second round pick but we could still get good talent if we play our cards right!
Plus, it is likely if we have to trade Swisher in the next year or two we can get AT LEAST the equivalent of a 37th overall draft slot talent for him and one that would likely be closer to the majors than the one we would have drafted this year.
I can't believe as a draft/prospect guy I am saying this but I really think, in this case, the Indians outsmarted the market.