Originally drafted in the second round all the way back in 2004, The General, Anthony Swarzak, came to the Braves in a “bad contract” swap at the end of May with Jesse Biddle and Arodys Vizcaino going the other way. He had already been traded once in the offseason as a cash dump by the Mets in the Cano/Diaz extravaganza which won the Mutts the offseason.
What did he do for us?
As a Mariner, Tony was beyond terrible, barely managing a 1.5/1 k/bb ratio and giving up 2.5 homers/9 while calling Safeco home. So, he arrived in Atlanta… and immediately commenced being that shutdown guy we had to have. Really, there was a 15 day period where Tony and Luke were the only relievers the team could rely on. The only performance variable that changed between teams was that the Braves convinced him to raise his arm slot about 5 degrees and got him to throw his slider a lot more, especially in hitters counts.
Given the craptitude we were giving him to work with, Snitker quite reasonably rode the General into the ground over the next month and a half. This ballooned all his numbers (which had been astounding in the first month) and resulted in some time on the shelf. When he returned, so did the same guy who had pitched for the Mets and Mariners and he was left off the postseason roster.
How about next year?
Swarzak was a free agent at the end of the season and there is no evidence the team will consider a reunion. His fastball velocity has dropped about 1mph per year for the last few so unless he makes like Sergio Romo and just begins throwing nothing but sliders there likely is no longer a MLB job for him. Some desperate team will give him a spring NRI if he wants to continue. Still, he has earned more than $18M in his career and he will always have June in my heart.