LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Reliever Anthony Swarzak and the Mets reportedly agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract, pending a physical, during the Winter Meetings on Wednesday.It was only 10 months ago when the 32-year-old right-hander was a non-roster Spring Training invite with the White Sox, looking to re-invent
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Reliever Anthony Swarzak and the Mets reportedly agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract, pending a physical, during the Winter Meetings on Wednesday.
It was only 10 months ago when the 32-year-old right-hander was a non-roster Spring Training invite with the White Sox, looking to re-invent himself on the mound. Similar opportunities will be available to other veteran relievers who could become sign-and-flip candidates for the White Sox in 2018, much like Swarzak moving to the Brewers last season after posting a 2.23 ERA over 41 games with Chicago.
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"We're probably in a position as an organization right now to do our best to find the next Anthony Swarzak as opposed to going out and paying retail in the free-agent market for one," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "When we originally looked at this offseason, we anticipated those types of moves coming after these Meetings after free agents had a chance to fully understand their market and talk to a number of clubs.
"With that said, this is a little bit slower developing of a market. So it's conceivable everything is a couple of weeks behind and it takes us into January before we start doing those deals. But we've laid some groundwork on things like that over the last few days, and we'll see how quickly they come together."
It's conceivable the White Sox leave here on Thursday without making any trades or free-agent signings. It's a big departure from last year's Winter Meetings, when the club began its much ballyhooed rebuild by trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox and Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a haul of seven prospects.
The White Sox won't leave these Meetings empty-handed, so to speak. With four spots open on the 40-man roster and holding the fourth pick overall, look for Chicago to be active during Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. Relievers could be the target for the South Siders, hurlers in line with their prospect-driven rebuild as opposed to the veteran category represented by Swarzak.
"We'll expect to be active tomorrow, and we may well actually have a player or two selected, too. We're prepared for that," Hahn said. "We knew when we set our roster, consistent with everything else we've been doing around here for a while, we prioritized guys that we thought would have the greatest impact for the long term and would leave a greater potential long-term void had we left them exposed and then gotten selected.
"We had some players not added to the 40 who might be able to help some clubs in the short term, and that's part of the byproduct of having a good system. A player that we select is someone that we feel not only has the ability to survive and contribute at the big league level, but ideally also fits for the long term. That's the type of players we will be targeting with any selection tomorrow."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.