Now less than a year later, the rebuilding Brewers are now the playoff-contending Brewers, so they've used Cordell's big league-ready bat as currency to pick up a big league upgrade of their own, acquiring righthander Anthony Swarzak to bulk up their bullpen. For the White Sox, trading a soon-to-be free agent like Swarzak is a very logical step in the rebuilding process.
WHITE SOX ACQUIRE
Ryan Cordell, of
Cordell has long intrigued scouts with a combination of solid athleticism, above-average speed and plus power potential. What he's never really done is find a home defensively. A shortstop early in his career, he's played third base, left, center and right field this year. He's better in the grass than the dirt and is better in a corner than in center field, but his defensive versatility does add to his value. At the plate, Cordell sacrifices batting average for power. He'll swing and miss, but he also stays on breaking balls, can catch up to good fastballs and has gap power to all fields. There are scouts who see Cordell as an everyday regular. Others see him as a versatile 300-400 at-bat utility player, but even though he's a little old for a prospect, most scouts see him as a productive big leaguer. For the Brewers, trading Cordell is a little easier because he's one of a multitude of upper-level outfield prospects. The Brewers also have Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips as big league-ready options.
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Anthony Swarzak, rhp
Swarzak was once one of the top starting pitching prospects in the Twins farm system. Until this year, he had been a well-traveled fringy reliever who had spent time in Korea and on the Triple-A/MLB shuttle. The White Sox signed him to a minor league contract this past offseason and pitching coach Don Cooper once again worked his magic. Swarzak is throwing the hardest he's ever thrown (94-95 mph) but he's relying more on his slider and it has paid off as he's developed into a reliable reliever thanks to the best strikeout rate of his career. Swarzak's fielding independent pitching numbers match his ERA, indicating that his improvement may be more than just a fortunate few months.