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Braves acquire RHP Anthony Swarzak from Mariners for Arodys Vizcaino and Jesse Biddle

The Braves moved on from a couple of relievers and brought in a new face.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Swarzak will be available for tonight’s game in San Francisco. Wes Parsons has been optioned to Triple A Gwinnett.

Well, the Braves made a move involving their bullpen, although this one isn’t likely to get everyone’s juices flowing a ton.

The Braves had two relievers that, at this point in time, were not likely to contribute in a meaningful way for the foreseeable future. Arodys Vizcaino underwent shoulder surgery to repair his labrum on April 17 and was not going to see any action again this season as a result. He’s a free agent at the end of this season, so he was essentially done as a Brave, pending a mid-season extension which definitely isn’t going to happen now. Jesse Biddle isn’t hurt per se, but he had lost the ability to reliably throw strikes or get guys out as he posted a 5.40 ERA and 4.90 FIP in 15 appearances this season. Given how many inherited runners he seemed to allow to score and his ridiculous 5.86 xFIP and -1.14 WPA... well, those numbers appear generous in some respects.

(Seriously, only four relievers in baseball had their team’s chances of winning baseball games diminished more than Biddle so far this season. One of those, unfortunately for the Braves, is A.J. Minter. In addition to those four relievers, you also have four starters and 12 position players... so yeah, Jesse Biddle, April/May 2019 WPA vortex.)

With both men’s futures with the Braves in serious doubt already, we now know that the team is moving on.

We don’t know how much cash Seattle is sending over in the deal, so that is worth monitoring. Anthony Swarzak is an interesting bullpen arm that did post a 2.2 fWAR season back in 2017. However, his combined fWAR for the last two seasons currently sits at -1.1 fWAR and he is making $8 million this season, so this feels more like a roster management/salary shuffling move than one that will pay any immediate dividends for either team. The Braves are (were) paying Vizcaino $4.8 million for 2019, so it’s possible that the cash considerations are offsetting the pro-rated difference between this figure and Swarzak’s 2019 salary, or perhaps an even greater amount, in which case the Mariners would basically be paying money to acquire Jesse Biddle from the Braves.

Update:

This appears to render the move neutral cash-wise. As such, the Braves essentially swap the out-of-options, DFAed Biddle for a chance to give Swarzak a look, and nothing else.

Swarzak has been pretty terrible by essentially every pitching metric this year, and like most of the relief corps he’s joining, has walked the world so far in 2019. Perhaps his only saving grace is a 100 xFIP- so far this year, but it’s hard to bank on that alone as a positive, when that’s hardly a good mark for a reliever in and of itself.

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