The Crew: In Need of Relief

Last night during the first inning of the Brewers-Nationals game, news broke that the Milwaukee Brewers had acquired a relief pitcher. A few minutes went by and it was announced that they had traded for the tall right handed veteran Anthony Swarzak of the Chicago White Sox. Swarzak has landed with the Brewers at the age of 31 with a 4-3 record and 2.23 ERA in 48.1 innings pitched over the span of 41 games during the 2017 season.

Swarzak joins the Brewers in a time of need having dropped seven of eight games coming into the series against the Nationals. This includes a span of 3 blown games in Pittsburgh and another game in Philadelphia in which the bullpen gave up all eight runs that night and allowed the 34-64 Phillies to come back from an 8-0 deficit to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th. For many Brewers fans that was the last straw when it came to settling for this below average bullpen. You could see just about every single Brewers fan or blogger take to Twitter to voice their frustrations. From Neftali Feliz to Carlos Torres, the Brewers bullpen has been frustrating at best.

With the acquisition of Swarzak, General Manager David Sterns aims to fix that frustration. Swarzak is a control pitcher who promotes a low 90’s fastball that has a bit of a tail to it and follows it with a bending slider that isn’t sharp, but effective in changing pace and keeping a batter on his toes. Swarzak is a nice pick up for the Brewers because of his 1.034 WHIP and his ability to retire batters via the strikeout, already having 52 in 48.1 innings pitched. One factor that Brewers fans will love the most about Swarzak is that he throws strikes, and good strikes at that. Overall of his appearances he has only given up 13 walks along with only 2 home runs.

The Brewers gave up prospect Ryan Cordell. Cordell is a 26-year-old utility player, who for the most part plays in the outfield and dabbles at third base. Cordell was hitting .284 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs along with a .349 OBP and .855 OPS. Cordell will most likely have a shot at the big leagues in Chicago as soon as this September. The White Sox outfield really only has one solidified player  in the outfield at best (Melky Cabrera). So the idea that Cordell could be up in the majors soon isn’t too far off. Cordell was listed as the Brewers 17th ranked prospect and was stuck behind players like Brinson, Broxton, Santana, and a slew of other talented young players. The odds of Cordell getting a shot in the big leagues with the Brewers in the near future were slim to none without a lot of trades or injuries.

I appreciate what Sterns did here because of the fact that he realized a surplus of outfielders and traded one of the lower guys on the spectrum and got a guy in a place of need. The one catch about Cordell is that the Brewers minor league affiliate is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which has the same effect as Coors Field in Colorado. The ball flies well out in Colorado so you have to take any players hitting numbers out there with a grain of salt. That being said if you look at Cordell’s home/away splits he is hitting .344/.411/.648/1.059/6 HR/29 RBIs at home. On the road he hits .230/.291/..381/.673/4 HR/16 RBIs. The difference between these two slash lines can not be overlooked. His home line is probably blown up a bit and like most hitters he struggles a little more on the road to no surprise. In my opinion Cordell is probably a MLB team’s third or fourth outfielder when he reaches his prime and won’t do too much.

The Brewers made the trade that every fan wanted to see. They got a reliever who is having the best year in his career, on a good contract, and for a cheap return in Ryan Cordell. Swarzak is the type of player that will boost the moral of the team in midst of the slump, as well as a guy the Brewers will be able to count on down the stretch. The work for David Sterns is not over yet though. The Brewers could still add a starting pitcher and maybe even another reliever to maintain pace with the Cubs and the NL wildcard. If they are able to make another move or two, don’t be surprised if the Crew is playing fall baseball.


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