Red Sox acquire Anthony Varvaro from Braves


According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Red Sox have acquired right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro in a trade with the Braves, sending Double-A reliever Aaron Kurcz and cash considerations in the other direction.

In Varvaro, the Red Sox will add a solid middle relief arm. Varvaro has been excellent for the Braves the past two years, finishing the 2014 season with a career-best season in which he posted a 2.63 ERA (down from 2.82 in 2013), aided by a stingy 2.1 BB/9 (down from the 3.1 he had posted in 2013) and impressive 8.2 K/9 (significantly above his 5.3 K/9 the previous season).

Despite all that success over the past two seasons, though, the Braves curiously designated him for assignment two days ago. Still, given his excellent 2014 season, it’s likely that he’ll start the season in the Red Sox’ bullpen, after perhaps being acquired as a replacement for free agent Burke Badenhop.

While both relievers induce ground balls at a high rate (Varvaro at 49.7% and Badenhop at a ridiculous 61.0%), however, Varvaro profiles as a better late-inning arm than Badenhop due to his strikeout numbers. Plus, while Badenhop would likely cost a few million dollars, the Red Sox got Varvaro for nearly nothing.

Aaron Kurcz, whom the Red Sox acquired as part of their compensation for Theo Epstein, is a fine relief prospect. His great stuff allowed him to post an impressive 2.14 ERA and 11.6 K/9 in Double-A Portland last season, though control issues caused him to walk 4.7 batters per nine innings. However, trading a relief prospect for a quality established reliever is a win for the Red Sox and will give them a very solid bullpen entering the 2015 season.