Mets sticking with struggling Frank Francisco as closer

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Back-to-back ugly outings over the weekend left Frank Francisco with an 8.56 ERA, which along with three losses and two blown saves overall this season led to speculation that the Mets were considering a closer change.

Instead manager Terry Collins said today that he’s sticking with Francisco and the team believes his struggles might stem from tipping his pitches, with the idea being that the issue is fixable.

Francisco’s pre-2012 track record as a setup man and occasional closer suggested he was very capable of getting the job done in the ninth inning on a full-time basis, but injuries have clouded that somewhat and his fastball velocity is also down slightly from past years.

Francisco has missed plenty of bats, totaling 15 strikeouts in 13.2 innings, but he’s also handed out seven walks and opponents are hitting .328. Last year with the Blue Jays he had a 3.55 ERA and 53/18 K/BB ratio in 51 innings, so it’s not just blind faith from Collins keeping him in the role … for now, at least. In the meantime Jon Rauch looms as the obvious fallback option.

Mets sign reliever Anthony Swarzak

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Marc Carig of Newsday reports that the Mets have signed reliever Anthony Swarzak. It’s a two-year, $14 million deal, pending a physical.

Swarzak is an eight-year big league veteran who pitched for the White Sox and Brewers in 2017, posting a 2.33 ERA in 70 games. The righty struck out 10.6 batters per nine innings while walking 2.6. It was a really nice year and he’s a really nice pickup for the Mets, even if he is a fallback choice after they failed to sign Bryan Shaw.