Red Sox reliever Hector Velazquez claimed off waivers by Baltimore

BOSTON, MA - MAY 12: Hector Velazquez #76 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park on May 12, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 12: Hector Velazquez #76 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park on May 12, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /

It was announced on Sunday by the Boston Red Sox that right-handed reliever Hector Velazquez had been claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.

On Sunday afternoon it was announced by the Red Sox that former reliever Hector Velazquez will be making his way to  Baltimore. The righty was designated for assignment last week in order to make room on the roster for Collin McHugh. Neither move comes as a surprise as Boston works towards building a strong team for 2020.

Velazquez first debuted with the Red Sox in 2017 and has been used mostly as a reliever since then. He has been called upon to start games when the moment is dire enough but his tenure was mostly spent coming from the bullpen. In his three years with Boston, he’s accumulated an 11-7 record with a 3.90 ERA in 166 innings pitched.

The right-hander wasn’t the most consistent arm in Boston’s bullpen in 2019, and when you’re inconsistent on an inconsistent pitching staff, that’s not good for your future. With guys like Marcus Walden and Josh Taylor becoming fixtures in the relief core, Hector’s role diminished. Add in fireballer Darwinzon Hernandez to the mix and Velazquez was a man without a home towards the end of the season.

When he’s healthy and has everything firing on all cylinders he can be a very good reliever and may benefit from a new club this season. Maybe a reverse of the Andrew Cashner debacle from last year? Being out of the Boston sports media lens may be just what the reliever needs to get his game going, sure seems to be working for David Price.

As Opening Day fastly approaches it’s no surprise to see Chaim Bloom begin to whittle down his spring training camp to the final 40-man roster. Over the weekend the Red Sox cut several players from camp as the Grapefruit League is nearing its end. Considering his spotty 2019 campaign I’m not shocked that he didn’t make the cut for 2020, but it’s still a surprise to see it.

The biggest issue facing Boston ahead of the upcoming season is the pitching so it may seem odd that they designated a pitcher. Again, they did so to add a fresh arm to the roster, despite his health keeping him off the field. McHugh is someone that has a proven track record and a big upside in both areas of the pitching game. By this point, we know what we have in Velazquez and unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough.

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I’m not sure where Bloom and his front office team go from here as the pitching staff is still in need of some major help. The rotation may have four starters, and that’s a really questionable may. Then there’s the strong possibility of implementing the opener that Chaim and his team used while in Tampa. I can admit, I’m not the most confident right now in what this team will be able to do once Opening Day comes around.

Hell, they had a four-run lead heading into the ninth inning and barely escaped with a 7-6 victory thanks to Chris Mazza imploding on the mound. So losing a veteran reliever in Velazquez may come to haunt Boston in the long run, especially if McHugh isn’t able to fully get healthy. However, removing him from the depth chart now gives some other arms a chance to prove themselves to Ron Roenicke and company.

Next. Darwinzon Hernandez may be heading to the starting rotation. dark

The Red Sox may be in for a world of hurt this coming season due to their pitching. On the other hand, Baltimore is gaining an arm that can get the job done when called upon in Hector Velazquez. It’s going to be interesting to see where each team finishes in the AL East race as neither is projected to be high in the standings. I’d just like to thank Hector for his time in Boston and for always giving it his all, no matter the outcome.