Francona's message to Swisher: Be yourself

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Nick Swisher's four-year, $56 million contract is the largest the Indians have given to a free agent.

The 32-year-old outfielder was born in Columbus, Ohio, and despite signing a record deal and joining his hometown team, manager Terry Francona does not expect Swisher to press.

History has shown some players get off to slow starts or slump when trying to live up to big contracts, but Swisher has an infectious, stress-free, fun-loving personality that Francona believes will never fade.

"I think that's how he will be every day," Francona said. "I don't think that'll ever change. He wakes up, and he's the same every day."

Over his nine-year career, Swisher is a .256 hitter, but he is coming off of a very productive season in New York. With the Yankees in 2012, Swisher hit for a career-high average of .272 and drove in 93 runs.

"That's the one thing I reminded him the day he signed," Francona said. "I just said, 'Be yourself. You don't have to do more. That's why we signed you: we like what you do."

William Boor is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.