AP source: Reliever Swarzak, Mets agree to $14M, 2-year deal
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Free-agent reliever Anthony Swarzak is reuniting with Mickey Callaway, the new manager of the New York Mets.
The 32-year-old right-hander and the Mets have agreed to a $14 million, two-year contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday at the winter meetings because the agreement has not been announced and is subject to successful physical.
Swarzak spent the first 2½ months of the 2015 season with Cleveland, making 10 appearances with a 3.38 ERA. Callaway was hired to manage the Mets in October after five seasons as the Indians' pitching coach.
"We're looking for somebody who can pitch at the back end, somebody who has a demonstrated track record recently and somebody that fits and has known Mickey in some capacity in the past," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said without confirming the deal.
Swarzak was a combined 6-4 with two saves and a 2.33 ERA in 70 games last season for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee. He has pitched for five teams in the last four years, including Minnesota, Cleveland and the Yankees.
His fastball velocity increased from 93 mph in 2015 to 95 mph this year, according to Brooks Baseball. A four-pitch pitcher through 2014, he was restricted to a fastball and slider by Callaway before bringing back his changeup this year.
New York went 70-92 and came to the meetings looking for a reliever to join closer Jeurys Familia, Jerry Blevins and A.J. Ramos at the back end of its bullpen.
Swarzak is 23-30 with a 4.22 ERA over eight seasons. He began his big league career in 2009 with the Twins and was a starter his first year, then began moving into a relief role.
New York also is looking to add offense, either from first base, second or the outfield. Alderson is willing to wait.
"Typically toward the end of the offseason there are some players available at perhaps better prices," Alderson said. "But that doesn't mean they're better value. Sometimes they are; sometimes they aren't. Certainly knowing those possibilities arise late helps maintain a certain amount of discipline and patience in days like the winter meetings."
Agent Scott Boras, a frequent critic of the Mets for not augmenting their payroll to the level he thinks appropriate, took more shots at New York.
"Among the banks of baseball, they have the vault, a true vault," he said. "We have to get to the vault. The ATM has limits."
Alderson was amused.
"My ATM is not located in a vault, so mine has easier access," he said.