Source: Red Sox have interest in Swisher

The Boston Red Sox are one of four teams interested in signing free-agent outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher, according to a baseball source. The Red Sox look at Swisher as a fallback plan if they are unable to lure Josh Hamilton.

Along with the Red Sox, the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians have all reportedly expressed interested in the 32-year-old.

Privately, the Red Sox have said they won’t go beyond a three-year deal for Hamilton, and Monday a baseball source it was “doubtful” that Hamilton will get fewer than four years in a new deal. The Texas Rangers are still considered the favorites to re-sign Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP.

The switch-hitting Swisher would appear to be a more plausible alternative for the Sox, although to date he reportedly is seeking a five- or six-year deal. ESPN Insider's Jim Bowden reported that the Indians hope they can sign him for four years and $48-50 million, though it appears the market could reach $60 million or more.

The Red Sox, of course, would only sign him for a shorter term, as is the case with their interest in Hamilton.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said at the conclusion of the winter meetings last week that the Red Sox were looking for a lefthanded bat, one that either could play the outfield or first base. Swisher, of course, plays both.

He hit .272 with 24 homers, 93 RBIs and an .837 OPS for the Yankees last season. The consistent and durable Swisher has had eight straight seasons with 20 or more homers and 131 or more games played.

In 50 career games at Fenway Park, Swisher has batted .286 with 8 homers and 32 RBIs.