The soft-tossing lefty and his 55 mph curve are headed to Milwaukee. The Brewers lured the junkball oddity away with a surprisingly bold Major League contract.
Swindle, 25, was called up twice and pitched three games for the big club. At the time, the Phils were in a pitching bind and needed to use Swindle in a couple blowouts, essentially leaning on him like a mop-up man instead of the situational left-hander he’s always been in the minors. Without the mix and match, it got ugly in a hurry. In 4 2-3 innings, he gave up a couple of big homers to Mark Reynolds of Arizona and David Wright of the Mets, with Wright taking him deep in Swindle’s very first Major League assignment. It was the first homer he surrendered all season.
You won't find a bigger backer of Swindle's cause, but I’m the first to recognize that a one-out specialist is all he’ll ever be in the Majors. Which means he has a shot at pitching for a long time if it breaks the right way. According to the story on the Brewers Web site, they liked the same impressive minor league figures we’ve been going on about for the last couple of years, including his 10.4 strikeouts and 1.1 walks per nine innings pitched. In 194 Minor League innings for the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies farm clubs, Swindle has a 226-to-25 strikeouts-to-walks ratio and a 1.58 ERA, and he’s been murder on left-handed hitters throughout his career.
Swindle is best known for his tumbling curveball that can cross home in the low 50s, with a fastball that barely clocks 80 and a slider that falls somewhere in between. He throws from the very left edge of the rubber and releases the ball at a low, 3/4 slot in back of left-handed hitters. His control has always been exceptional, which is how it has to stay if he has any hope of succeeding in the Majors.
Tracy Paul Hunt, Swindle's agent, said the Brewers were among three "serious contenders," with six other teams, including the Phillies, offering Minor League deals with an invitation to attend Spring Training. If he’s used properly, there’s a chance Swindle can make it, but his margin for error is as slim as it gets.