The White Sox announced on Monday that they’ve signed right-handers Anthony Swarzak and Blake Smith to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Smith returns to the White Sox organization, where he made his MLB debut in 2016, while Swarzak spent last season as a member of the Yankees organization.
Swarzak, 31, is no stranger to the AL Central, having spent the first five seasons of his career with the Twins and part of the 2015 season in Cleveland (before departing for a stint with the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization). Last season’s return to the Majors didn’t go well for Swarzak, who struggled to a 5.52 ERA in 31 innings with the Yankees.
However, from 2011-15, the former second-round pick was solid in a swingman/long-relief role, posting a 4.18 ERA with 5.6 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 in 394 innings between Minnesota and (briefly) Cleveland. He led the Majors with 96 relief innings in 2013 and finished that season with a 2.91 ERA, but he’s been on a downhill trajectory since that time. Swarzak will give the ChiSox some depth in the ’pen and in the rotation, as he does have 32 Major League starts to his credit as well.
Smith, 29, is also a former second-round pick (five years later than Swarzak, though). A converted outfielder, Smith moved to the mound in 2013 and has been pitching since that time. His big league debut didn’t stand out (three runs in 4 1/3 innings), but the longtime Dodgers farmhand posted a 3.53 ERA with 9.5 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 in 71 1/3 innings of relief work at the Triple-A level last season.