Anthony Swarzak Up, Craig Breslow Out for Minnesota Twins
The Twins continued their search for backend starters and consistent relievers Wednesday when they called up Anthony Swarzak from Triple-A Rochester. Swarzak will pitch in place of the injured Glen Perkins against the Brewers on Saturday.
Many minor league watchers had been calling for this move for weeks. Swarzak's record, just 3-4, is a better reflection on the state of the Red Wings' offense than on how well he has pitched.
His 1.16 WHIP and 2.25 ERA over 40 innings show that the Twins No. 6 prospect is much better than his record, and his BABIP of nearly .300 may even come down, given the improved defense he'll have behind him with the Twins.
Swarzak was the first Twin to find himself on the wrong side of MLB's new drug testing policy. Far from being a 'roider, Swarzak was caught with a "drug of abuse" that was probably marijuana, but still served a 50-game suspension.
Fifty games off sets anyone back, but for a player caught between Single-A and Double-A ball, it could have killed Swarzak's career. He bounced back from his time off well, and continued to move up the Twins system.
In a different era, Swarzak gets a lot more press, and this move is heralded as saving the team. Right now, however, the Twins boast a young rotation that already includes Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey, two pitchers who have a similar style as Swarzak.
In order to make room for the new starter, the Twins parted ways with last season's midseason revelation, Craig Breslow.
It's no secret I was big on Breslow heading into this season, and I still believe Louis Ayala should have been sent off first. But the fact of the matter is that Breslow pitched his way out of a job over the first two months of this season.
In 14 innings so far this season, Breslow has given up 11 runs on 11 hits, while issuing 11 walks. In his first 16 innings last season, he gave up just three runs on nine hits, while walking just six, compared to 13 strikeouts.
Regression to the mean doesn't even begin to cover that drop.
Breslow didn't pass through waivers. Oakland grabbed him, which should surprise no one, since he has pitched so well recently and was pitching better in May than he did in April.
It remains to be seen whether the A's will get the player who bounced around the minors for years, never quite finding a home, or the one who anchored the Twins' comeback run last season.
Either way, this is the first step among many towards fixing the bullpen for the Twins. Ayala and Jesse Crain should be looking over their shoulders, especially with options in Triple-A and Double-A, as well as veteran free agents waiting for their chance, all of whom are likely to pitch better than the current relievers have.
Breslow may have been the first move made, but he'll be far from the last.
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