Anthony Varvaro Rumors

Cubs Return Anthony Varvaro To Red Sox

The Red Sox announced that pitcher Anthony Varvaro has been returned to the club. The right-hander was designated for assignment by the Red Sox in late April and claimed off waivers by the Cubs days later.

Varvaro, it turns out, has a torn right flexor tendon and will undergo surgery Tuesday ending his season, reports Cormac Gordon of the Staten Island Advance.com.

The tendon is partially torn off the bone, but the elbow is stable otherwise,” the 30-year-old told Gordon. “I was worried I might need another Tommy John surgery. That’s not the case. This is the best possible outcome.

Rehabilitation is expected to last six months, so Varvaro could resume throwing in November. The Red Sox say they were unaware of how severe the injury was, so both clubs agreed that it “would be appropriate to return Varvaro to the Red Sox for placement on the disabled list in accordance with the major league rules.”

The Red Sox designated Varvaro for assignment on April 29th and the Cubs claimed him off waivers on May 3rd.  Three days later, the Cubs DFA’d Varvaro and subsequently outrighted him.

Varvaro posted a 2.74 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate near 48 percent with the Braves from 2012-13. With the Red Sox this year, Varvaro appeared in nine games and totaled 11 innings. The five runs he surrendered aren’t particularly concerning, but his velocity was down from an average of 92.5 mph in 2014 to 91.1 mph in 2015. That, combined with the 14 hits and six walks he yielded in his 11 innings, likely aided in his swift exit from the Boston organization.  Now, for the time being, he’s back in Boston.


Minor Moves: Lendy Castillo, Anthony Varvaro

We’ll keep up with the minor moves of the day in this post:

  • The Rangers have signed right-hander Lendy Castillo to a minor league pact, reports the Dallas Morning News’ Gerry Fraley (Castillo’s mention is at the bottom of his post). The 26-year-old Castillo tossed 16 innings of relief for the 2012 Cubs, yielding 14 runs with 13 strikeouts against 12 walks. He spent last year with Chicago’s Double-A affiliate, posting a 3.95 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 41 innings. However, Castillo was old for the level and also mixed in an alarming 39 walks. He hasn’t had such pronounced control problems in the past, however, so the Rangers will hope to be able to help him rediscover the ability to throw strikes while maintaining his proclivity for whiffing batters.
  • Righty Anthony Varvaro has cleared outright waivers and is expected to be assigned to the Cubs‘ Triple-A affiliate, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Varvaro figures to take up residence as a handy depth option for Chicago, which recently called upon fellow former Braves reliever James Russell after he took a stint in Iowa. In his case, the 30-year-old Varvaro had worked to a 4.09 ERA in 11 frames early in the season with the Red Sox. While that is hardly dominant run prevention, and his 4.9 BB/9 were less than promising, Varvaro has put up good results with solid peripherals over the last several years and is a nice arm to have stashed.

Minor Moves: Beck, Constanza, Pineiro, Nelson

Here are today’s minor moves from around the game.

  • The White Sox have announced that they’ve selected the contract of righty Chris Beck to be the 26th man for the second game of their doubleheader today. Beck, 24, has made his way through the minors with few strikeouts but strong control, posting 5.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 since the White Sox drafted him in the second round in 2012. This season, he had a 4.78 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 26 1/3 innings with Triple-A Charlotte.
  • The Reds have signed outfielder Jose Constanza to a minor-league deal, according to MLB.com’s transactions page. The 31-year-old Constanza collected 240 plate appearances with the Braves from 2011 through 2014, batting .273/.316/.323. He spent most of last season with Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves released him last month.
  • The Blue Jays have signed veteran starter Joel Pineiro to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Double-A New Hampshire, Jays broadcaster Mike Wilner tweets. Pineiro, 36, last pitched in the big leagues with the Angels in 2011. He pitched briefly in the Cubs and Angels systems in a comeback bid last season, then pitched winter ball in Puerto Rico.
  • The Brewers will sign infielder Chris Nelson to a minor-league deal, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). The Phillies recently released Nelson from their minor-league deal with him. The five-year veteran played briefly with the Padres in 2014. The former first-round pick has a career line of .265/.311/.388, with many of his at-bats coming in hitter-friendly Coors Field.
  • The Padres have outrighted catcher Wil Nieves to Triple-A El Paso, according to the MLB.com transactions page. The Padres designated Nieves for assignment earlier this week to make room for top prospect Austin Hedges. It’s unclear whether Nieves will accept his outright assignment or opt for free agency. Nieves appeared in just six games for the Padres this year.
  • The Cubs have outrighted righty Anthony Varvaro, also according to the MLB.com transactions page. The Cubs recently claimed Varvaro from the Red Sox and then designated him for assignment on Wednesday. He did not appear in a game for them. He pitched in nine games for Boston earlier this season.
  • The Athletics have released outfielder Alex Hassan, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page. That news might actually come as a relief to Hassan, who had been claimed five times in the past seven months. The A’s designated Hassan for assignment yesterday.
  • The Angels have released corner infielder Ryan Wheeler, via the Pacific Coast League transactions page. They had claimed the 26-year-old from the Rockies last August. Wheeler, who played briefly in the big leagues in 2012, 2013 and 2014, was hitting .291/.304/.418 for Triple-A Salt Lake, although he has a track record of hitting for better power at the Triple-A level.
  • The Rays have announced that they’ve placed Alex Cobb, who’s having Tommy John surgery, on the 60-day DL and selected the contract of 23-year-old righty Andrew Bellatti. Bellatti had struck out 20 batters in 21 1/3 innings at Triple-A Durham this season, posting a 2.11 ERA, pitching as a starter even though he had spent most of the previous three seasons working in relief. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times explains, it’s been a strange path to the Majors for Bellatti, a 2009 draft pick who spent a few months in jail for vehicular manslaughter following a 2010 car accident.


Cubs Designate Anthony Varvaro For Assignment

The Cubs announced today that they have designated right-hander Anthony Varvaro for assignment. His roster spot will go to fellow righty Justin Grimm, who was activated from the disabled list. Additionally, the Cubs have optioned Junior Lake to Triple-A Iowa and recalled outfielder Matt Szczur.

The Cubs claimed the 30-year-old Varvaro off waivers from the Red Sox just three days ago, and he didn’t get into a game with Chicago in his brief time with the club. Varvaro was likely added to keep a fresh arm in the ‘pen should a need arise, and the Cubs may have similar hopes to those of the Dodgers, who have recently claimed and quickly designated promising arms in the hopes that they will clear outright waivers and be able to be kept in the organization.

That may be unlikely in Varvaro’s case, as the former Braves/Red Sox hurler has a solid track record in the Majors. Varvaro posted a 2.74 ERA with 6.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a ground-ball rate near 48 percent with the Braves from 2012-13, making their offseason decision to part ways with him somewhat surprising. With the Red Sox this year, Varvaro appeared in nine games and totaled 11 innings. The five runs he surrendered aren’t particularly concerning, but his velocity was down from an average of 92.5 mph in 2014 to 91.1 mph in 2015. That, combined with the 14 hits and six walks he yielded in his 11 innings, likely aided in his swift exit from the Boston organization.

The Cubs will have 10 days to trade Varvaro or place him on outright waivers. Given his track record, it’s not difficult to envision another club claiming him if he is placed on waivers.


Cubs Claim Anthony Varvaro Off Waivers

The Cubs have announced they have claimed right-hander Anthony Varvaro off waivers from the Red Sox. To clear a 40-man roster spot, the Cubs have designated left-hander Joseph Ortiz for assignment.

Varvaro, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox Wednesday, has appeared in nine games (11 innings) this year allowing five earned runs while striking out eight and walking six.

Ortiz has spent the entire season at Triple-A Iowa making eight relief outings and notably has struck out only one batter in 10 2/3 innings. The Cubs claimed the 24-year-old off waivers from the Rangers last October after he spent most of the season recovering from a January 2014 motorcycle accident. Ortiz made his MLB debut with Texas in 2013 (his only stint in the Majors) posting a 4.23 ERA, 5.4 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 in 44 2/3 innings (32 games).


Red Sox Designate Anthony Varvaro

The Red Sox have designated righty Anthony Varvaro, manager John Farrell announced on WEEI’s Dale & Holley radio show. Boston will call up lefty Tommy Layne and righty Dalier Hinojosa to add arms to the pen.

Varvaro, 30, had thrown 11 innings this year for the Red Sox after being acquired from the Braves over the winter. He struck out eight and walked six batters over that stretch while allowing five earned runs to cross the plate. Across six seasons in the big leagues, Varvaro has worked to a 3.23 ERA while posting 7.4 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9.


Red Sox Acquire Anthony Varvaro

The Red Sox have reached a deal to acquire right-handed reliever Anthony Varvaro from the Braves, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Twitter. Righty Aaron Kurcz and cash make up the return for the Braves, according to the official announcement.

Varvaro, 30, was designated for assignment two days ago. A deal to move him was widely said to be in the works after the Braves removed him from the 40-man roster.

He produced an attractive 2.63 ERA over 54 2/3 frames last year on the back of 8.2 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, and a 49.7% groundball rate. ERA estimators generally viewed him as an above-average arm, with FIP (3.21), xFIP (3.15), and SIERA (2.86) all coming in above his ERA but at solid rates.

Kurcz, 23, threw 42 innings of 2.14 ERA ball last year at the Double-A level, with 11.6 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9. He missed the previous season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.


Braves Designate Anthony Varvaro

The Braves have designated reliever Anthony Varvaro for assignment, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweeted earlier that the move was expected.

Varvaro’s roster spot will go to infielder Alberto Callaspo, whose deal was finalized today. The righty could be dealt out of DFA limbo, Bowman tweets.

Last season was the second solid campaign in a row for the 30-year-old, as he pitched to a 2.63 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 and a 49.7% groundball rate over 54 2/3 frames. Varvaro also earned good marks from ERA estimators, with FIP (3.21), xFIP (3.15), and SIERA (2.86) all liking his work.


Braves Notes: J. Upton, Johnson, Gattis, Pastornicky

Here’s the latest news on the Braves out of San Diego:

  • Echoing the prior report, president of baseball operations John Hart says that he will keep both Upton and Gattis unless he gets what he is looking for, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The club still has the option of attempting to compete by keeping them and adding another starter and a second baseman.
  • Teams in discussions with the Braves now feel they might be likely to keep Gattis, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.
  • The Braves are now packaging Justin Upton and Chris Johnson in trade talks with teams, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).

Earlier Updates

  • Atlanta is fielding interest on Upton from the Orioles, Rangers, and Padres, Bowman reports (Twitter links).
  • When the Royals asked about Gattis several weeks back, the Braves asked for young righty Yordano Ventura in return. Needless to say, that seems to have been a non-starter.
  • The Braves “seem ready to be aggressive,” sources from competitors tell MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links). Justin Upton and Evan Gattis remain the two most talked-about trade targets, but infielder Tyler Pastornicky and righty Anthony Varvaro “could also be included in talks,” per Bowman. Pastornicky is a 24-year-old infielder who could figure into Atlanta’s plans at second if he is kept. Varvaro, 30, has been a fixture in the Braves pen over the last several years.
  • While there remain several teams that are good potential matches on Upton, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the Padres might be the best given their supply of young, controllable pitching. A note from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports earlier today also suggested a viable connection between those clubs on Upton.
  • While there is general agreement that Upton is a more valuable commodity than was the previously-traded Jason Heyward, teams remain hesitant to beat the return for the latter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. There is a general sense that the package given up by the Cardinals, headlined by Shelby Miller, may have outstripped Heyward’s value.

Varvaro, Cristhian Martinez Likely To Stay Put

3:08pm: With Jonny Venters spraining his elbow today, Varvaro and Martinez are both likely to begin the year with the Braves, tweets MLB.com's Mark Bowman.

7:55am: Right-handed relievers Anthony Varvaro and Cristhian Martinez were a couple of solid waiver claims by the Braves, as both have made contributions to the team's Major League bullpen.  However, since both pitchers are out of options, one of them could be traded if Jordan Walden is ready for Opening Day on Monday, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman.

Walden was injured earlier this spring, and the Braves could retain Varvaro and Martinez for now by putting Walden on the disabled list to start the season.  Otherwise, it would make sense to trade Varvaro or Martinez rather than expose one to waivers.

Varvaro, 28, was claimed off waivers from the Mariners in January 2011.  He's got some control issues, and has spent much of the last two seasons at Triple-A.  He seems the more expendable of the two for the Braves.

Martinez, 31, joined the Braves via waivers from the Marlins in April 2010.  Since then he has a 3.81 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 0.86 HR/9 in 177 1/3 innings.