Mets sign reliever Anthony Swarzak

The Mets said they would sign a reliever and while many thought it would be Bryan Shaw it turned out to be Anthony Swarzak. While Shaw allegedly gets 3/$27, the Mets got Swarzak for 2/$14.

Of course, Shaw has a longer track record of good pitching. Last year was the first year where Swarzak was a very good reliever. Split between the White Sox and Brewers, he notched a 2.33 ERA over 77.1 IP with a 4.14 K/BB ratio. And Swarzak has previous experience with new Mets manager Mickey Callaway, having appeared in 10 games with the Indians back in 2015.

Swarzak is a fastball-slider guy and his heater checks in with an average 94.7 mph rate. After getting killed by the gopher ball in 2016 with the Yankees, Swarzak did a strong job of keeping the ball in the park last year, allowing just 6 HR. Perhaps the nicest thing is that last year lefties had just a .575 OPS against him.

Can Swarzak duplicate last year over the next two seasons? If so, then this is a very good deal. This likely takes the Mets out of the running for a reunion with Addison Reed. But that was always an unlikely event.

29 comments for “Mets sign reliever Anthony Swarzak

  1. Name
    December 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Too much money. This guy is the epitome of why you don’t pay big bucks for relievers.

    Superb in 2017.
    Horrible in 2016
    Injured in 2015.
    Unappealing in 2014.
    Excellent in 2013
    Terrible in 2012

    Zero consistency. Has yet to put together back to back solid campaigns, so this year he’s likely gonna suck.

    Right now relievers are like the concessions at the ballpark – terribly overpriced. Makes much more sense to avoid and develop your own guys.

    • Name
      January 30, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Could of had David Hernandez or Matt Albers for 2/5.

      Overpaid Swarzak $4.5 million annually and that’s not chump change…

      I love the idea of stocking up on relievers in the 1-4 million range and trading away guys once they get above 5 mil.

  2. Chris F
    December 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    The perfect Aldersonian acquisition. Smells of Frank Frank and Rauch. Woo Hoo the bull pen is fixed!!!!!!!


  3. Jimmy P
    December 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I agree with the thesis in Name’s last paragraph. But that’s old news, something we’ve all known for the past 15 years or so. We’ve watched the Braves, after all, and read BP and other analysts. I was talking about this the other day, because Sandy knows this, too. I really believe he “gets” it in theory. But of course this goes back to his abject failure with the farm system. He looked up after 7 years and said, “Gosh, I have no live arms! No future relievers! My system sucks.”

    He completely blew it.

    Then the reality is that he had to make the adjustment. Sure, ideally, develop your own guys — and a lot of them, cheap. But in the absence of that — in the face of that complete and total failure — you have to spend some money.

    I remember Name hating it when we signed Reed. All these guys are overpaid, and on, and on, and on. At a certain point you have to reconcile yourself to the real world and the cost of doing business. And you have to recognize how the game is played today and the importance of a strong, deep, varied bullpen.

    I still believe Wheeler should be in the pen. The Cubs just signed Morrow for about $10 million a year. Because honestly, it’s now cheaper to find a 5-6 inning “good” starter than it is to acquire a high-quality reliever.

    Anyway, this is the type of move Sandy is looking to make these days. He’s seeking “value” and a low commitment — despite all the things he said in the past. I hope Swarzak does well for the Mets, seems like he’s better than a bunch of guys we threw on the hill last season. Seems like a step in the right direction, all things considered (budget, length of contract, farm system, current roster, etc.).

    Again: We traded for a baker’s dozen RH relievers this past year. Is there no faith in any of them becoming a Swarzak? Does this become about the organization’s lack of guts, unwillingness to throw young guys into the fire? I don’t think so. I think they looked around and thought, “We can’t count on a single one of these guys emerging out of the Spring Training as an effective reliever.”


  4. Pete In Iowa
    December 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Swarzak, eh. Well, it appears as though he has cashed in on his good season last year.
    Good for him; bad for us.
    Would (will) he prove to be any better than a Wheeler, Gsellman, Lugo or even Harvey in the pen? With the exception of Harvey, all of whom would cost a fraction of what we are doling out to Swarzak.
    I think not.
    This cash could have been spent much more wisely than this, in my humble opinion.
    I’m not getting any younger waiting for this club to win it all. For the first time in my life, I’m beginning to wonder how many more of these ridiculous “improvements” I can take.

  5. TJ
    December 13, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    No doubt that sandy, for all his wisdom, has completely missed the boat on pitching staff composition in the modern game. He brings up, accurately, that the Mets dealt off numerous pitchers to “go for it” back in 2015. However, that doesn’t cover up for the subpar drafting/developing, or the fact that he brought in a half-dozen or so “hard throwers” at the trade deadline.

    I will take a positive perspective on this signing – it is relatively low cost, and at least Swarzak has several years of big league experience, with the most current season his best. Maybe things have clicked. Myself, without yet knowing the contract he commands, I would have signed Reed over any of these free agents. This would have accomplished two goals – first, very strong depth in 2018 (and perhaps an elite pen if health/performance pan out) and second, a guy that has closing capabilities under contract for 2019.

    I didn’t read anywhere where the Mets say they are now done adding to the pen, but given their incredible cheapness, that is likely the case. One more legit big leaguer (Reed, Smith) plus that collection of minor leaguers would truly provide them with significant depth, allowing the starters who don’t win a spot on the 25 man roster to play in Vegas and be ready to fill in and/or push out an low performer. Again, this is the difference that a modest financial commitment can make to winning in 2018 and 2019.

  6. Eraff
    December 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Jimmy…all pretty reasonable stated, but I don’t thing alderson can make You happy at this point.

    Between their own $$$ decisions and their opinions of pitching, they are going to choose guys. The Manager has coached this guy… I hope they know something I don’t…even when I’m unhappy with them.

    This is all a similar lament to “They didn’t give________ a chance”::::: Satin, TJ, and the cast of AAAA castoffs that failed all over….Terry Collins Knows stuff we dont…so does Mickey Callaway…and, while I despise this management…so does Alderson

    • Jimmy P
      December 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      On this move, I said: “Seems like a step in the right direction, all things considered (budget, length of contract, farm system, current roster, etc.).”

      I believe I’ve been fair and balanced in my criticism of Alderson, giving him credit for many things over the years.

      This team has a laundry list of needs. So far they’ve gone cheap at 3B and the pen. We’ll see where it ends up. Looks like 2nd place if he can find 9 guys to take the field in the NL East.

      • TexasGusCC
        December 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm

        And they are done with relievers, supposedly…

        I, Kostas Livaditis, do solemnly swear to stop standing up for Alderson and the Mets organization going forward. They are dishonest, dollar foolish, and lack the ability to identify talent.

        Jimmy, what team are we going to start rooting for? I hear the Astros have a good future… Maybe the Brew Crew?

        • TJ
          December 13, 2017 at 10:42 pm

          Look, we Met fans are in no man’s land. Yup, I confess to being addicted, as most all of us are the ready and post on blogs. It is both a hobby and in our DNA. Also, I generally try to remain positive and find the good in any given circumstance. That said, like you, there is only so much horse manure that one can take. We hung in with the Madoff situation and all the financial blah blah blah regarding new stadium costs, network loans, etc. Alderson seems to be a decent man, intelligent with a ton of industry experience.

          And, with all that, the bottom line is that these folks say one thing and behave in another manner.They ask their customers to pay extremely high prices for entertainment, they say they are committed to sustained quality, and they cut corners on the product. There is no way any rational person can conclude that a team in NYC, two years removed from the World Series, who were only capable of the 14th ranked opening day payroll last year, are now only capable of spending less, as part of the lower half of the league. So, the result is a bargain signing of a journeyman to their proclaimed “high priority” need. I am rather certain that if they added Reed, most in baseball would consider this pen elite, and start to see a way that the 2018 Mets would be able to challenge the Nats for the division with tremendous pitching depth. I Reed really going to break the bank, when you have $25 million in bullpen expense off the books in 2018? Of course not…but that is what this ownership of liars, and their complicit mouthpiece Mr.Alderson, want you to believe as they market the team. It is frankly an insult to the fanbase and if not adjusted it will drive away long time fans and customers like you and me. Sandy should be ashamed, he is better than this and tarnishing his reputation more every single minute that he fails to take actions that prove otherwise.

  7. TexasGusCC
    December 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm


    • Chris F
      December 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      hahahahahhahahahaahhahha lololololololol

    • MattyMets
      December 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm
      • TexasGusCC
        December 13, 2017 at 11:38 pm


        Matt, thanks, I needed the laugh. That was awesome!

  8. Herb G
    December 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Alderson’s comment about not chasing and not entering the inferno apparently guided this signing. The reliever market this year is an inferno.
    Pitcher Projection Actual Deal
    Shaw 3yrs/$21M 3yrs/$27M
    Hunter 2yrs/$12M 2yrs/$18M
    Nishek 2yrs/$12M 2yrs/$16.25M
    Morrow 3yrs/$24M 2yrs/$21M (AAV – $8M vs. $10.5M)

    Name’s year by year analysis is spot on, but it doesn’t take into account that Swarzak’s career performance is tarnished by the years he was a starter, either full or part time. If you consider his splits solely as a reliever, they compare very respectably with those of Shaw, who we probably would have loved.

    I think Alderson and his player evaluation crew generally do their homework, and in this case they made a pretty good decision. Only time will tell. Speaking of player evaluation, I get the frustration in Jimmy P’s comment about that baker’s dozen (actually only 7) of RHRP’s we got in trade last year. I was disappointed in that crop too. Looking at them more closely, though, they are a mixed bag (4 of them with K/9 > 10, 4 of them with WHIP < 1.250) Oddly enough, Jamie Callahan, who did pretty well when the Mets brought him up last September, looks to be so-so statistically, while others, like Drew Smith and Jacob Rhame look very good.

    I agree with Jamie P that Wheeler belongs in the pen. That is only going to happen if Sandy signs or acquires an additional starter to fill in the rotation. I think he will do that, but he will probably wait out the market and pluck someone in January or February. That ain't all bad. I think he id going to do the same thing with another reliever. I just hope that there is someone of valus available when he decides to strike.

    • MattyMets
      December 13, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      Rhame is raw but has a thunderbolt for an arm. With good coaching and little AAA seasoning he could be a factor by summer.

    • Name
      December 13, 2017 at 11:46 pm

      The Shaw comparison is not even close.

      Past 5 years Shaw has thrown at least 60+ IP per season (and he was at 59.1IP the 6th season), with an ERA between 2.59 and 3.52 in each season. His last four seasons were all 130+ ERA+. If you looked up the consistent in the relief dictionary his face would be at the top of the list (aside from Mariano)

      Swarzak has done that just twice in the last 5 years- in 2013 and 2017. In 2015 and 2016 he threw just 44 IP combined and Hansel Robles was better than him.

  9. Mike Walczak
    December 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Here’s the deal. I am tired of Alderson. The Mets have a window with their young pitchers. Alderson sits by and waits for a coupon in a piece if junk. Shaw and Hunter disappear and he signs Swarzak. One good year is not a track record. Heard the Mets were talking to Fernando Rodney. Heck, why not bring back Armando Benitez and since they are still paying him, let’s get Bobby Bonilla on the roster.

    I think Alderson needs to go. Yes, be smart, but don’t be so passive that you just watch the window close.

    • MattyMets
      December 13, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      Mike W. I feel frustrated too. I’m hoping Alderson does something smart soon. I don’t want to totally flip out yet as we’re just getting started.

      • Mike Walczak
        December 13, 2017 at 9:54 pm

        I don’t see him doing something smart soon. He just seems frozen and choking and unable to move. May add a couple of cast offs portrayed as ‘value signings.

        Sure, I wouldn’t pay the money for Moustakas or Hosmer, but what about Eduardo Nunez and players like him.

        Just tired of watching the world pass by, while other teams are adding pieces.

        • Herb G
          December 14, 2017 at 8:24 pm

          I agree Mike, I don’t see him doing something smart soon . . but I do see him doing a few smart things over the course of the off season. He needn’t be in any rush. He has several needs and a budget to work with.

          I think his next move is an infielder. (not named Moose or Hos) Nunez is a possibility, as is Frazier. But he is going to explore the trade market first. Three names that seem to make sense are Cesar Hernandez, Josh Harrison and Whit Merrifield. Any of them would be a “value acquisition” preferable to Nunez, IMO.

          We are all impatient, tired of watching other teams add pieces. But patience is required. The off season isn’t a sprint, it is a long distance race, and it is the results that come into St. Lucie in February that really matters.

          • TexasGusCC
            December 14, 2017 at 11:25 pm

            Herb, your advice is logical, but we’ve heard it before. We’ve been hearing it since 2013 when Alderson proclaimed in mid-September that improving on Tejada was a priority. Then we heard it when he wanted to get a big time pitching but gave us Marcum, Atchison, Matsuzaka, and Colon.

            My point is we only get what falls to us, we’re never aggressive unless we commit to a player during the QO period.

    • Eraff
      December 13, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      more like Broken Windows

  10. Metsense
    December 13, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Swarzak is an upgrade to the bullpen. He had a very good 2017 and signing him to a reasonable short term contract allows the Mets to address other needs.
    If the Mets were to sign a Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb then Harvey, Matz, Lugo, Wheeler and Gsellman would be competing for the last two rotation spots. It was pitching that sabotaged the 2017 season. Good pitching will always keep you in games. Bad pitching will give you 92 loses.

  11. MattyMets
    December 14, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Joe Smith got 2/15 and Brandon Kintzler got 2/10 with an option that could make it 3/16. If the Mets do add one more bullpen piece I’d like to see a lefty like Tony Watson. Not sure what he’ll command. Mets have to think beyond 2018 as Famila, Blevins and Ramos will all be FAs after this season.

    • TJ
      December 14, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      If they are serious, the signing would be Reed. However, the chances are 99.9% that they aren’t serious.

  12. Herb G
    December 14, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Brian, I don’t agree with your premise that signing Swarzak eliminates the possibility of a reunion with Reed. Addison pitched the best of his career with the Mets. I think he would like a reunion just as much as we would. But, as we all know, it is all about the money . . actually, in this case, the years, which still boils down to money. Reed is looking for 4 years, and there is no way Sandy will give 4 years to a reliever. If Reed finds he can’t get his 4 year deal and the door is open for less, we’re back in business. I think if Reed would take 3 yrs/$24 million, (or 2/$18) Sandy would sign him.

    • December 14, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      Yeah it’s money, in two different ways.

      First, they have roughly $25 million already spent with Familia, Ramos and Reed. Add $7 more with Swarzak and we’re over $30 million. Do you really think they’re going to sink $40 million in the pen?

      Second, they only have around $30 million to spend this offseason. Do you think they’re going to spend more than half of that on the bullpen when they’re still looking for a 2B and an OF/1B? To say nothing of a SP?

  13. Eraff
    December 15, 2017 at 6:08 am

    I don’t believe they will sign an SP…and I don’t think they should.
    Unless they’re pushing an existing starter to the Bullpen, they’d have no place for an added SP to pitch at the start of the Season. Given their statements about limiting SP lineup turns to 2, they need lots of BP arms.

    An SP and $$$ would be added when the team needs/merits it…June July. If not, Sandy has a reasonably tradeable parts bin.

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