Red Sox interested in Nick 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.

The San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians reportedly all have expressed interest 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 said 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 baseball Insider's Jim Bowden reported that the Indians hope they can sign him for four years and $48 million to $50 million, though it appears the market could bear a price of $60 million or more.

The Red Sox would sign him only 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 team was looking for a left-handed bat, someone who could play the outfield or first base. Swisher plays both.

Swisher 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 batted .286 with eight homers and 32 RBIs.