On Monday, the Braves parted ways with two familiar names and acquired another relief arm in return from the Mariners.
The Atlanta #Braves today acquired RHP Anthony Swarzak and cash considerations from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Arodys Vizcaíno and LHP Jesse Biddle.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 20, 2019
Atlanta continues to make efforts to bolster the weakest part of their team. They have done a decent job of finding a makeshift bunch that can tread water while they attempt to re-establish the back end of the bullpen. A.J. Minter never found his footing out of the gate, and Arodys Vizcaino was quickly shut down for the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Combined – the two were supposed to be a deadly closing duo, but now neither are on the major league club.
This trade for Swarzak isn’t as much about what the Braves received, but rather what they gave away. Jesse Biddle has been a live arm in Atlanta’s bullpen for the last two seasons, but his inability to throw strikes decided his future.
Long-time Braves relief man and closer, Arodys Vizcaino also goes over in the deal. Although, his fate with the Braves was already sealed when he was announced out for the year about a month ago. Viz was in the final year of arbitration, where he settled this offseason for close to 5 million dollars. That was a questionable move at the time because this was an injury that dated back to last season. Alex Anthopoulos chose to roll the dice with Vizcaino, and it backfired. This trade is the end of what was an utter gaffe from the Braves’ front offense.
For those fans out there hoping that Swarzak is the answer to the bullpen woes, I would suggest not holding your breath. Since 2014, the right-handed relief man has played on seven different baseball teams. His career ERA is 4.33, but he did have a masterful 2017 campaign that earned him a 2-year, $14 million deal that ends after this season.
On the year, Swarzak’s ERA is 5.27 in 15 appearances. He’s a two-pitch guy, who sits in the low to mid-90s with his fastball paired with a slider that he throws over 50% of the time. The Braves also get about $2 million in cash to offset the differences in salary between Vizcaino and Swarzak.
At the bottom line, the Braves traded Jesse Biddle, who already had a foot out the door, for another arm that could potentially patch up another hole in the pen. It’s not much, and it’s a little late, but at least Alex Anthopoulos is trying.