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With offers out to Youk and Swish, Tribe holds tight

With offers out to Youk and Swish, Tribe holds tight

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With offers out to Youk and Swish, Tribe holds tight
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have made their pitch and tabled offers for free agents Kevin Youkilis and Nick Swisher. All Cleveland can do now is wait.

During the Winter Meetings this week, the Indians made it clear that they had some financial flexibility by extending a four-year, $44 million offer to outfielder Shane Victorino. He opted to sign a three-year deal with the Red Sox, so the Tribe has turned its attention to both Youkilis and Swisher.

Youkilis is weighing a one-year offer worth $12 million to put on the Yankees' pinstripes, but he also has a two-year offer from Cleveland to take over as the full-time first baseman. The Tribe's potential pact is worth $18 million, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

"I can't comment on any of that stuff right now," Youkilis said at a charity event on Thursday in Boston. "We're very fortunate that a lot of teams want me right now. We have a handful of good choices. We have to sit down with my family and agent and all that stuff. In due time, we'll find out."

Youkilis has ties to Ohio -- he was born in Cincinnati and attended the University of Cincinnati -- but perhaps more importantly, he has a long history with new Indians manager Terry Francona. Youkilis played under Francona in Boston from 2004-11, winning a pair of World Series rings (2004 and '07) along the way.

Playing again for Francona, who has spoken with Youkilis about the opportunity in Cleveland, might be an enticing part of the equation.

"I don't know anything other than playing for Tito," Youkilis said. "He's great, he's doing good. Talked to him. He's doing great. He seems happy. I know he wasn't happy a year ago at this point. So that's good. He's back, seems happy, seems excited taking over in Cleveland."

Last season, the 33-year-old Youkilis hit .235 with 19 home runs, 15 doubles and 60 RBIs in 122 games between tours with the Red Sox and White Sox. Before he was traded to Chicago by Boston on June 24, the Indians were trying to acquire him from the Red Sox. Youkilis' 19 homers would have led a power-starved Cleveland club a year ago.

Over the past three years, Youkilis has hit .264 with a .372 on-base percentage and a .472 slugging percentage, averaging 18 homers, 24 doubles and 67 RBIs each season.

The 32-year-old Swisher -- a product of Ohio State University -- is another realistic possibility for the Indians, who reportedly have competition in the Mariners. The Phillies, Red Sox, Giants and Orioles have also been reported to have varying levels of interest in Swisher, according to multiple reports.

Last year, the switch-hitting Swisher hit .272 with 24 homers, 36 doubles and 93 RBIs in 148 games for the Yankees. He also posted a .364 on-base percentage and a .473 slugging percentage. Swisher has launched at least 23 home runs in five straight seasons, and he has collected at least 80 RBIs four years in a row.

Swisher has played mostly right field -- currently home to Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo -- but he has experience in left field and first base. It is no secret that the Indians are entertaining trade offers for Choo, and Cleveland also has holes to fill in left field and at designated hitter.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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