2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Anthony Swarzak

Who is he?

Originally drafted in the second round all the way back in 2004, The General, Anthony Swarzak, came to the Braves in a “bad contract” swap at the end of May with Jesse Biddle and Arodys Vizcaino going the other way. He had already been traded once in the offseason as a cash dump by the Mets in the Cano/Diaz extravaganza which won the Mutts the offseason.

What did he do for us?

As a Mariner, Tony was beyond terrible, barely managing a 1.5/1 k/bb ratio and giving up 2.5 homers/9 while calling Safeco home. So, he arrived in Atlanta… and immediately commenced being that shutdown guy we had to have. Really, there was a 15 day period where Tony and Luke were the only relievers the team could rely on. The only performance variable that changed between teams was that the Braves convinced him to raise his arm slot about 5 degrees and got him to throw his slider a lot more, especially in hitters counts.

Given the craptitude we were giving him to work with, Snitker quite reasonably rode the General into the ground over the next month and a half. This ballooned all his numbers (which had been astounding in the first month) and resulted in some time on the shelf. When he returned, so did the same guy who had pitched for the Mets and Mariners and he was left off the postseason roster.

How about next year?

Swarzak was a free agent at the end of the season and there is no evidence the team will consider a reunion. His fastball velocity has dropped about 1mph per year for the last few so unless he makes like Sergio Romo and just begins throwing nothing but sliders there likely is no longer a MLB job for him. Some desperate team will give him a spring NRI if he wants to continue. Still, he has earned more than $18M in his career and he will always have June in my heart.

20 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Anthony Swarzak”

  1. FWIW – Just spoke to a friend who knows Kendall Graveman. Atlanta made an offer but Seattle’s was higher.

  2. the General
    his talents turned out to be essentially ephemeral
    but we’ll always remember, on the mound, his military swagger
    as, lo and behold, there flew by another two bagger.

    15 days of fame, there’s many who’d settle for that. After the fact, when they had none.

  3. @5 Not sure how I feel about that idea. If they’re selling cheap enough, I reckon he’s worth taking a chance on. Honestly though, I wouldn’t want to see real value dealt away for him.

  4. @6 I just hope these aren’t the veteran starters the team is digging in a dumpster for. I’m all for keeping an eye in the dumpster, but not when Gerrit Cole is literally begging for Atlanta to give him all their money.

  5. How about this…. Orioles just waived Jonathon Villar. Even his projected arbitration salary would be cheap ($10M), but he could likely be had for half that now. He just put up 4 WAR last year. Numbers very similar to Ozzie – more HRs and SBs and slightly lesser defense. He is what we want Camargo to be. Install him or Camargo at 3B and let the other be SuperUtil at least until Riley is ready to mash on a regular basis and then all your money could go to Cole.

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/11/orioles-jonathan-villar-waivers.html

  6. @8 That leaves the club without a legit #4 hitter, though. Donaldson has got to be the priority in my mind. He fits perfectly with what the team needs. Villar is good, but he’s just not that level.

    Before Will Smith signed I thought they could’ve squeezed both Cole and Donaldson in, and bargain shopped elsewhere. Can’t see that now, but that’s cool. Bolstering the bullpen was a great move.

    Now I’d be happy if they re-upped Donaldson, and maybe checked in on a guy like Wheeler. Trade Ender if more cash is needed to make it work.

  7. @9 Who’s to say they would need to bargain shop at all if they did get both Cole and Donaldson? That’s just fan posturing and business people yammering over pennies.

    This team can choose to do whatever, but they could just do what Gerrit Cole wants in a way that maybe only the Braves can do… and give Gerrit Cole the money he wants. They could still resign Josh Donaldson. Problem is, I’m not sure the signing of Gerrit Cole has anything to do with whether the team resigns Donaldson.

  8. @9 @10 Maybe we shouldn’t be talking Cole anyway since he wants to play on the left coast. Maybe Strasburg would be a better option. But the point remains.

    You could sign both Villar and Donaldson if Villar comes cheap enough. Villar has played CF, too, in the past. It’s hard to believe that the team couldn’t use a cheap 4 WAR player. This is Villar’s last year of arb and he would be an excellent placeholder for someone like Riley or Waters. It also leaves the possibility open of trading Dansby and/or Ender without any impact. You could put Villar in LF, Acuna in CF, and Markakis/Duvall in RF. The first IF injury sends Villar to the IF where you lose nothing. If you sign Donaldson then Villlar is the OF solution.

    It’s a lot better than signing Hech….. It ain’t bargain shopping if he scores 4 WAR…..

  9. @10 Oh I don’t disagree that they wouldn’t need to bargain shop based on economics, but I know all too well they would’ve under my perfect offseason scenario. They’d have signed the 2 guys I most wanted them to though, so I wouldn’t be mad. I don’t especially love a lot of the OF or SP options available.

  10. @11 If it’s both Villar and Donaldson, I’m onboard. My initial reaction was based on not wanting Villar to replace Donaldson as the 3B. If we’re putting Villar in the OF and hitting him 5th, heck yeah!!

    Strasburg is interesting, and awesome- but I personally rarely talk him because I feel it’s 97.3% certain he ends up back in Washington.

  11. It makes 0 sense for no one to want Villar. Is he just a giant prick or something? Dude also stole 40 bases at an 82% success rate.

  12. But it makes lots of sense to wait until he clears waivers and you can negotiate a better deal than 1/10M.

  13. @15 Isn’t he worrh that though? We’re talking a 4 WAR player. Even if you don’t believe he is a 4 WAR player (and I don’t know that I do) the contract isn’t bad.

  14. I think the best explanation is that no teams were willing to trade something significant for him because they knew the Orioles were going to waive him.

    The best explanation for why the Orioles were going to waive him is that he’s only under control for one more year and the difference between 65 wins and 70 wins is trivial to them.

    I’m not sure that’s a good explanation, but it’s the best I got? Next year, he looks to have a floor of league average and a ceiling of all-star, with substantial versatility, and I would’ve thought a player like that would be a valuable commodity.

  15. Only other thing that makes sense to me is that somehow every other team thinks he is a one year wonder ( due to the ball or whatever). If he regresses back to his career norms, around .650 OPS, 175 K’s, he’s not as much of a bargain at 10M.

    I’d give him a try at less than that, but I’m pretty sure that multiple teams will be in on him.

  16. @14 @18 Take another look. He has scored around 3 or more WAR three of the last four years. He had a horrible 2017 but he led the league in steals in 2016 (65!!!). We all talked Hamilton as a PR for the playoffs. Villar is Hamilton, Hech, and Joyce all wrapped into one. He runs more than Ozzie so I’d bat Villar second and Ozzie fifth. With Ronald, Ozzie, Dansby, and Villar, the Braves would probably have 4 of the top 10 fastest baseball players in the league. Man, Acuna and Villar at the top of the lineup would create an absolute carousel on the bases. I’d love to see Ronald and Villar competing for the league lead in steals.

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