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Mets Improve Bullpen With Signing Of Anthony Swarzak

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After coming off a career year in 2017, right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak officially agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth $14 million with the New York Mets on Friday, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Swarzak, 32, appeared in a career-high 70 games this past season across 77 1/3 innings. He set numerous career-bests such as a 2.33 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .211 BAA, 91 strikeouts, and 10.6 strikeouts-per-nine. Prior to 2017, he had posted a 4.52 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 5.8 strikeouts-per-nine in his entire seven year (2009, 2011-16) Major League career.

Truly a breakout campaign for Swarzak relying on just two pitches- a four-seamer and slider. He never experienced success quite like what he accomplished in 2017, and that’s why Brewers general manager David Stearns offered him a two-year deal himself to return. But business is business.

“Relievers in general are tricky to evaluate,” said Stearns, per MLB.com. “That problem is probably accentuated a little bit with someone like Anthony, who had a career that didn’t necessarily predict what he did last year. At the same time, you can’t take away what he did last year. He had a tremendous year. He was a big part of our run down the stretch and he deserves to be rewarded for it.”

After spending his first five seasons with the Minnesota Twins (181 games/32 starts), Swarzak appeared in 10 games for the Cleveland Indians in 2015, and 26 for the New York Yankees the following year.

Overall in his career, Swarzak’s 23-30 with a 4.22 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and .270 BAA in 561 1/3 innings.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson knows just how much Swarzak can help his ballclub.

“We wanted to acquire an extra arm,” said Alderson. “I think we got somebody we’re really happy about and is going to improve us.”

Miami Marlins

Marlins Release Dan Straily

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The Miami Marlins have released right-hander Dan Straily, according to Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill (h/t MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro).

Straily will be going on release waivers and is he clears, he will his free agency Wednesday afternoon.

Straily, 30, pitched the tune of a 4.20 ERA last season for the Marlins.

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Harper Jumps Ship To NL East Rival Phillies

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OF Bryce Harper now owns the biggest free agent deal in North American pro sports (Yahoo!)

A representative of the Guinness Book of Records had better be present on April 2 when the Philadelphia Phillies come to Washington DC for their first meeting with the Nationals in 2019. Because, when a certain player that will be donning a Phillies jersey that wore a Nationals jersey last season steps to the plate for the first time, the subsequent boo might break the sound barrier.

Bryce Harper was the face of the Washington Nationals from April 28, 2012 until September 30, 2018, his last game with the team. Seeking pastures greener, Harper tested the free agent market all winter long to see whom would shovel out the most. Washington attempted to resign its franchise cornerstone, but a deal could not be reached and Nationals’ owner Mark Lerner announced on February 22 that his team was walking away.

That opened the door for a team the Nationals are very familiar with to officially capitalize. It was reported earlier today that Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies had come to terms on the biggest free agent contract in the history of North American professional sports. The club has not confirmed yet, but the deal is reportedly a 13-year, $330 million blockbuster that includes a no-trade clause and no opt-outs (the latter of which is an extreme rarity in today’s MLB). If true, the 26-year-old Harper will be in a Philadelphia uniform until he’s 40.

Fellow marquee free agent Manny Machado inked a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres on February 19 that was the biggest free agent deal in North American professional sports for all of nine days. Everyone knew that Harper’s deal would exceed it in terms of pay, but not a lot saw it being more in terms of years. Unless he agrees to waive his no-trade agreement, Harper could be a Phillie until he retires. The amount of the deal is interesting seeing as Harper is coming off a year that saw him bat just .249, though he did hit 34 home runs and broke the century mark in RBI for the first time in his career.

Whether intentional or Harper’s part or not, the signing is a pretty big slap in the face to his former club. Philly and Washington have been rivals since the days of the Montreal Expos. And though it may not be tantamount to Babe Ruth going from Boston to New York, it’s one of the biggest examples of stars joining rival teams in sports history. The Nationals won’t be the same team without Harper, who was the centerpiece of what was once a potent offense. The team is trending downward however and the absence of its biggest bat may have the basement calling.

The Phillies, on the other hand, may have become contenders as a result of gaining such a big star. Gabe Kapler’s team turned many heads in 2018 and wound up missing the playoffs by a far slimmer margin than was ever expected. Giving a young team on the rise a jolt in the form of one of the game’s biggest names could pay handsomely in a hurry. Harper has been on-and-off in his career and has struggled a lot with injuries, but the Phillies are obviously confident that a change of scenery will do the outfielder good.

Is the signing wise? Did Philadelphia overpay for a star who has struggled with consistency? Find me on Twitter at @Flat_Manigen74 and let me know.

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National League

Phillies, Bryce Harper Agree to 13-Year, $330 Million Deal

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The Philadelphia Phillies seem to have finally gotten their big superstar this offseason, and at a historically hefty price to boot.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Harper will sign a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies after a months-long courtship this offseason.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Harper’s deal with the Phillies will not include any opt outs, adding that Harper “didn’t want one.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Harper’s deal will include $20 million as a signing bonus with no deferred money.

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