The Indians have signed right-handed pitcher Anthony Swarzak to a Minor League deal and extended him an invitation to spring training. (only five more weeks to go!)
Swarzak, 29, was Minnesota's 2nd round pick back in 2004 (Hunter Pence and Dustin Pedroia were two of the first four players drafted after Swarzak, which doesn't really have anything to do with anything, but seems like a fun fact), and for a time he was one of their top prospects, but he never quite put things together as a starter, and was moved into primarily a bullpen role in 2011. He had a very good season in 2013, tossing 96.0 innings of relief (most in MLB) while posting a 2.91 ERA and 3.28 FIP.
In 2014 though, Swarzak's ERA rose to 4.60. His FIP was still a respectable 3.77, but his strikeout rate, which had already been low, dropped to 12.4%, 6th lowest in MLB among the 206 pitchers with 70+ innings.
There's something to be said for a guy who can go out and eat an inning or two, and even make the occasional spot start in a pinch (Swarzak started 4 games in 2014), but it doesn't seem likely he'd be one of the best 7 or 8 guys available to Francona when it comes time to put his bullpen together. I wouldn't be surprised to see Swarzak stick around though and accept a trip to Columbus. As busy as Francona liks to keep his bullpen, anyone in Triple-A has a decent shot at being called up at some point.