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.