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ESPN: Diamondbacks should focus on Anthony Swarzak in free agency

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak throws against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are coming off their most successful season since 2011, winning 93 games on the way to the postseason.

But, part of the Diamondbacks future roster remains in a haze, as key players to the success in 2017 become free agents, and trade rumors swirl among others.

Travis Sawchik, a staff writer for FanGraphs, attempted to clear up at least one part of the Diamondbacks’ offseason in a special to ESPN. According to Sawchik, the Diamondbacks should focus on signing a pitcher to the bullpen. Specifically, former Brewers right-hander Anthony Swarzak.

Highlighting Swarzak’s improved strikeout rate over the last four seasons, Sawchik believes the 32-year-old “has a chance to be an excellent value.”

“The success is tied to increasing his slider usage, throwing it at a 51 percent rate, and his fastball velocity jumped to 95 mph,” Sawchik added.

Swarzak first debuted in 2009 with the Minnesota Twins, where he played for five seasons before jumping to three different teams the past two years. He has a career ERA of 4.22 in 287 games and 561.1 innings pitched. In 2017 with the White Sox and Brewers, he gave up 20 earned runs and six homers while earning 91 total strikeouts.

It is no secret that the Diamondbacks bullpen struggled last season, often giving up late runs and collapsed all together in the NLDS against the Dodgers.

But, what will the focus be for the Diamondbacks?

Many would like to see the club bring back J.D. Martinez, who they acquired July 18 in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. However, the asking price for the 30-year-old free agent is steep at $200 million.

Martinez proved to be a valuable asset for the Diamondbacks in the team’s late-season run that included a trip to the post-season for the first time since 2011.

Martinez batted .302 in 62 games with Arizona, finishing the season with a career high of 45 homers and 102 RBI.

But, signing Martinez is an up-hill battle with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder A.J. Pollock set to become free agents in 2019.

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