The Phillies have signed right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak to a minor league contract, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training and a $1.5MM salary if Swarzak makes the Phillies’ roster. The pact also features $1.25MM in incentives.
Philly’s the latest of many stops for the 34-year-old Swarzak, who has both shined and struggled since he entered the majors with the Twins in 2009. While Swarzak starred with the White Sox and Brewers as recently as 2017, his career has gone off the rails with the Mets, Mariners and Braves since then.
Swarzak posted a 4.56 ERA with a far more disastrous 5.71 FIP in 51 1/3 innings between Seattle and Atlanta last season, also logging 8.78 K/9 with 4.56 BB/9. It was the second straight year Swarzak had difficulty limiting walks, which is a new trend for a hurler who has issued fewer than three free passes per nine over his 641-inning tenure in the majors. Home runs have also been a significant problem of late for Swarzak, who yielded them on better than 20 percent of fly balls in each of the previous two years.
Despite his recent troubles, there’s little harm from the Phillies’ standpoint in taking a risk-free flier on Swarzak. The club’s bullpen was a mediocre unit in 2019, and the Phils haven’t aggressively upgraded that part of their roster since then. Should Swarzak make the team, he’ll reunite with manager Joe Girardi, whom he played under when the two were with the Yankees in 2016.