Red Sox designate Varvaro for assignment, change up bullpen


Given the starting rotation’s consistent failure to go deep in games, the Red Sox have been forced to shuffle their bullpen to maintain some fresh arms lately. Those moves continued today, with the Red Sox designating Anthony Varvaro for assigment and demoting outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. while promoting right-hander Dalier Hinojosa and southpaw Tommy Layne.

Of these moves, the designation of Varvaro is by far the most surprising. Though the Red Sox acquired Varvaro after the Braves designated him for assignment, that was a questionable decision in its own right as Varvaro is coming off an excellent 2014 season which saw him post a 2.63 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. This move by the Red Sox is similarly surprising as Varvaro has posted a 4.09 ERA, but his 3.32 FIP suggests that he’s in line for some improvement. Varvaro isn’t off the Red Sox yet, but he’ll have to pass through waivers and swallow a demotion to Triple-A in order to remain with the organization.

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Tommy Layne has seen some time with the Red Sox this year, as he made four appearances (allowing 3 runs in 4.2 innings) after making the Opening Day roster. He has traditionally been incredibly effective against left-handers and could carve out a longterm niche with the team if he pitches well.

Hinojosa, on the other hand, has not seen any time in Boston since they signed him out of Cuba before the 2014 season. He has only made four appearances in Pawtucket this season, where he has posted a 3.68 ERA to go with 11.0 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 7.1 innings pitched. Those numbers are on line with his 2014 stats, where he posted a 3.79 ERA, 9.5 K/9, and 4.8 BB/9 in Pawtucket. Though Hinojosa has had some walk troubles in Triple-A, he has also struck out a solid number of opponents to balance things out and will look to put his lively stuff to good use in Boston.

The decision to designate Varvaro for assignment is questionable at best, as he has the pedigree of a proven reliever and, frankly, hasn’t even been that bad this season. However, there’s no doubt that the Red Sox need some new life in the bullpen given the mediocrity of their starting staff. Ideally, the Red Sox can keep Varvaro within the organization and sort out their bullpen struggles sooner rather than later.