Red Sox' DFA casualty from Lucas Giolito signing gets claimed by Mariners

Boston acquired the right-handed reliever back in July, but he struggled through 25 appearances with the club.

Boston Red Sox v Washington Nationals
Boston Red Sox v Washington Nationals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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A Red Sox 2023 midseason acquisition who was immediately thrown into the fire is now headed west after his short cameo with the club.

The Seattle Mariners have claimed reliever Mauricio Llovera off waivers from Boston Red Sox. Llovera had been designated for assignment earlier this month to make room for Lucas Giolito on the 40-man roster.

Boston acquired the right-hander last July in exchange for low-level pitching prospect Marques Johnson. He spent the rest of the season in the majors, pitching to a 5.46 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9.

In his defense, a heavy workload made Llovera’s job more difficult and could have contributed to his subpar outings.

Mariners claim Mauricio Llovera from Red Sox after DFA

When discussing Llovera in September, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “The sinker is good. Velocity is up. It just happened that when we got him, we needed him to pitch a lot. We didn’t see the real Llovy. [The sinker] starts off the plate and finishes on the plate and it’s a good one. The slider is good.”

The skipper added that he wanted to spend time this offseason working with Llovera on his cutter. It’s unclear whether that happened, but if it did, it’ll be on the Mariners to see if the pitch can produce results this upcoming season.

Roster Resource projects Llovera to earn one of the spots in Seattle’s eight-man bullpen come Opening Day. Of those eight players, Llovera has the highest career ERA and the least amount of MLB service time.

For Boston, the 27-year-old’s departure creates another spot in a crowded bullpen. There will be many players vying for the few bullpen openings.

MassLive’s Chris Cotillo recently identified Isaiah Campbell, Cooper Criswell, Zack Kelly, Bryan Mata, Justin Slaten, Zack Weiss, and Greg Weissert as the key names to watch for Boston’s final two spots. Of course, an extra vacancy could emerge if the club trades Kenley Jansen or shifts someone like Josh Winckowski or Garrett Whitlock to the starting rotation.

All eyes will be on the pitching staff when the Red Sox report to Fort Myers, FL, for Spring Training next month.