Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Anthony Swarzak to start Saturday

Anthony Swarzak has been called up to take Glen Perkins' spot in the rotation, and will make his first Major League appearance and start on Saturday. Between 2008 and 2009, Swarzak posted a 2.02 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in Rochester, and holds a career 3.50 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in the minor leagues. He has spent all of 2009 in AAA, and has a 2.25 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. He's both cut down on his walks and raised his strikeout rate in what has been a very good season for him.

While I had originally though R.A. Dickey would make the start on Saturday, I read some quotes from Gardenhire since then, which said he liked Dickey in his current role, and realized I would be wrong. Seth Stohs, though, correctly predicted that it would be Swarzak who would get the call-up and rotation spot.

While I think Swarzak is certainly deserving of this opportunity, I have to question the Twins' decision to release Craig Breslow to make room for him. In my opinion, Sean Henn is a worse option out of the bullpen and probably should never have been called up in the first place if they were planning to bring Swarzak up too. Another option would have been to send Jose Morales back to AAA, as he has only played four innings since returning to the Twins and has been just taking up space and rotting away on the bench. That would have been very temporary, however, with Delmon Young returning this weekend, and thus needing his roster spot back.

I'm surprised the Twins were so quick to jettison Breslow, who was very effective in 2008. At the very least they could have allowed him a little more time, say until mid-June; and if he hadn't figured it out by then, they could call up Henn and release Breslow. Henn has big league experience and has an ugly 7.56 ERA and 2.04 WHIP, and an even uglier 47:52 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Henn presumably got the nod because of his numbers so far this year in AAA. I can't help but think that the fact that he's 28 years old and has been in AAA since 2005 (a total of 216 1/3 innings) has more to do with that than his actual ability, which his appearance yesterday would support. Breslow, meanwhile, boasts a career 2.91 ERA and 1.35 WHIP to go along with a 76:49 K:BB ratio in the Majors, and that includes this season.

In summary:
--Anthony Swarzak is a good (and deserving) choice to start in place of Perkins.
--I don't expect Sean Henn to be any good, and thus releasing Breslow instead of sending Henn to AAA (or releasing him, if they can't send him back down) does not make sense to me.

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