According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox have made a deal with the Atlanta Braves to acquire 30 year old Anthony Varvaro for pitching prospect Aaron Kurcz and cash considerations. On Monday Varvaro had been designated for assignment by the Braves in order to make room for Alberto Collapso on the 40-man roster.
2014 would be a very good year for Anthony as he would go on to post a 2.63 ERA in 61 games while calling the very hitters friendly ballpark Turner Field home. Varvaro would post an 8.2 K/9 ratio along with a 2.1 BB/9 ratio in 54.2 innings in 2014 while not registering a single HBP. Not to mention his ground ball rate continued to increase as he lifted it to 49.7% this past season.
Just like 2014, 2013 would end up being a very huge year for Varvaro and his career as well. In his first season appearing in more then 18 games, he would put up a cool 2.82 ERA while pitching 73.1 innings and finishing 30 games for Atlanta. Even though his 5.3 K/9 ratio in 2013 would be much lower compared to what he posted in 2014, it showed he can still retire guys at an efficient rate without consistently striking them out. His 3.1 BB/9 ratio wasn't exactly good in the 2013 season, but he made significant strides a season later lowering it by a full walk. Anthony would fill different roles in the bullpen as both seasons went along and the pitching staff endured the wear of a 162 game season.
Varvaro's repertoire currently includes a four seam fastball, that usually sits around 92 MPH and helps him induce ground balls. A curve that is thrown a bit harder then others and often has 12-6 movement along with a change that is a bit firmer in comparison to most. The acquisition of Varvaro continues to trend towards the movement the Sox are currently going in signing pitchers who consistently get ground balls at a good rate. He fills a need the Red Sox currently have and are working hard to fulfill with the 2015 season quickly approaching. Anthony is also under team control up until the 2019 season and isn't even arbitration eligible until 2016. He's one of those pieces every bullpen needs thanks to his versatility on the mound and ability to withstand a heavy workload.
The prospect the Braves received in this deal from the Red Sox ended up being 23 year old Aaron Krucz who was originally a part of the Theo Epstein compensation the Sox received from the Cubs. He spent the past season at AA with the Portland Sea Dogs posting a solid 2.14 ERA in 42 innings working only out of the bullpen. Krucz missed all of 2013 following Tommy John surgery but it seems as if he has made a full recovery, his innings logged are expected to increase in 2015 as well now that he has regained his arm strength. He's a guy who misses a good amount of bats consistently, but he also struggles to find the strike zone at times. He was eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year but wasn't selected by anyone, he'll likely begin the year in AAA with the Braves organization. Later on in 2015 he could definitely serve as solid bullpen depth for Atlanta if he continues to develop well while working out of the pen. There is definitely back of the bullpen potential for Kurcz if he can gain a bit more control over his pitches, it's up to him though if he'll ever hit that level many other pitchers struggle to reach.
The Sox bullpen needed help and with many costless agent options falling off the board, it was expected a move was going to be made to bolster the bullpen. Currently the Sox could still use a few more moves involving the bullpen, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see other trades like this taking place in the near by future. Just pay attention when checking baseball news, small dealslike this continue to fall through the cracks as these huge blockbuster trades happen throughout the off-season.