Swarzak's big problem this year has been getting hit hard. That could mean he's lost it. Or maybe it's just that Swarzak's stuff and confidence are out of whack after all those injuries and the Braves can get him going again.
Swarzak was durable and dominant in 2017. It’s unlikely he’ll be that good for the Braves, but he doesn’t have to be. They’d take his career form before 2018: a reliable reliever who doesn’t issue many walks and doesn’t give up many homers.
If Swarzak can't get back on track, he'll cost the Braves whatever damage he inflicts in his outings. But the Braves already know what they've got in their bullpen. The results have been too many walks and homers allowed and not enough strikeouts. Swarzak can't make that situation any worse, and he has a chance to make it better.
It’s not costing the Braves much to find out what Swarzak has left. Vizcaino was once a very good reliever but not since his shoulder troubles started. Biddle was OK as a rookie for the Braves in 2018, but ineffective in 15 outings this season.
Swarzak also will cost the Braves some cash, but it’s probably a negligible amount. They owe him the prorated portion of his $8.5 million salary. That’s offset by cash received from the Mariners in the deal and what’s left of the combined $5.4 million in outgoing salaries for Vizcaino and Biddle.
Swarzak’s acquisition is another signal that the team is sticking with its strategy of making moves around the margins and hoping one sticks. It’s unlikely Swarzak will make a huge impact on the Braves’ bullpen. Swarzak has a chance to help them, though, so that makes this a fine deal.