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Mets make first move of winter, sign Anthony Swarzak

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MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 01: Anthony Swarzak
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 01: Anthony Swarzak
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Marc Carig reported the Mets signed the 32-year old to a two-year deal worth $14 million according to sources

One day after losing out on Bryan Shaw and Tommy Hunter, the New York Mets managed to add some quality to their bullpen on Wednesday. Marc Carig reported the Mets signed Anthony Swarzak to a two-year deal worth $14 million.

The career numbers aren’t going to look great, but a look at last season is part of a growing trend in baseball. Swarzak has transitioned into being a full-time reliever after beginning his career as a starter. That resulted in fewer hits allowed and a much higher strikeout rate. Swarzak allowed 6.8 hits per nine innings and registered 10.2 strikeouts, both career bests.

Along with that move to the pen, Swarzak has become a two-pitch pitcher with a much harder fastball. As a starter with Minnesota, Swarzak’s fastball averaged around 91-92. Last season with Chicago and Milwaukee, Swarzak’s fastball ticked up to an average of 94.7.

Swarzak’s major league career seemed to be dangling in the balance and he didn’t immediately transition into being a solid reliever. Swarzak was released by Cleveland in May 2015 and went to Korea. The Yankees signed him to a minor league deal in 2016, but the former second round pick appeared in just 22 games. He allowed 10 homers and 19 runs in 31 innings.

In 2017, not only was Swarzak back on the map, but he was a sought after commodity at the trade deadline. The Milwaukee Brewers swung a trade with the White Sox for Swarzak’s services. In 77.1 innings, Swarzak pitched to a 2.33 ERA and notched 91 strikeouts in 77.1 innings.

This comes a day after Sandy Alderson suggested the Mets will go more by committee to close games. Swarzak provides another late inning option along with Jeurys Familia, A.J. Ramos, and Jerry Blevins.

Next: Mets Winter Meetings Recap: Day 2

Hopefully, there’s more to come, but analyzing this move on its own: the Mets picked up some good value with a guy in Swarzak who has rejuvenated his career.

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