The Orioles have designated right-hander Eduard Bazardo for assignment, per a club announcement. In corresponding moves, the club has selected the contract of right-hander Joey Krehbiel and optioned right-hander Tyler Wells to Double-A Bowie.
Bazardo, 27, made his big league debut back in 2021 with the Red Sox, pitching for them in parts of two seasons. Bazardo then elected free agency after being designated for assignment in October 2022. That December, he landed with Baltimore on a minor league deal before being selected to the roster earlier this month. In all, Bazardo sports a career 3.74 ERA and 5.26 FIP in 21 2/3 innings in the majors. He’s posted similar numbers at the Triple-A level in his career, with a 3.86 ERA with a 24.5% strikeout rate in 107 innings of work at the level, which includes a strong 3.05 ERA in 38 1/3 innings with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk this season.
The Orioles have a week to trade, waive, or release Bazardo, though of course any trade would have to come prior to the trade deadline on August 1. In the event that Bazardo clears waivers successfully, the Orioles will have the opportunity to outright him to the minor leagues, though Bazardo has the right to reject that assignment as a player who’s been outrighted previously in his career.
Bazardo’s exit makes room for Krehbiel on the 40-man roster. A 12th-round pick by the Angels in the 2011 draft, Krehbiel broke into the majors with the Diamondbacks and the Rays before settling in with the Orioles midway through the 2021 campaign. He became a major piece of Baltimore’s bullpen in 2022, with a 3.90 ERA that clocked in at exactly league average by measure of ERA+.
While his work last season was certainly solid, Krehbiel was ultimately designated for assignment early in the 2023 season, before making an appearance at the major league level this season. He performed well at the Triple-A level this year after accepting an outright assignment, with a 3.00 ERA in 30 innings of work. That performance has earned Krehbiel another chance in the majors, where he figures to cover the middle innings for the Orioles alongside the likes of Bryan Baker and Shintaro Fujinami.
Perhaps the most surprising news of the day is the club’s decision to option Wells to make room for Krehbiel on the active roster. Wells has pitched fairly well as a member of the club’s rotation this season, with a 3.80 ERA in 113 2/3 innings of work. That quality run prevention figure belies his recent control problems, however. In the month of July, Wells has walked 13 batters in 21 innings, nearly as many as he’s struck out (16). That’s contributed to a 6.43 ERA and a 7.76 FIP this month, the latter of which has ballooned his FIP to a worrisome 5.17 figure on the season.
It’s unclear how long Wells figures to remain in the minor leagues, but his struggles and subsequent demotion highlight the club’s need for starting pitching ahead of the trade deadline on August 1. Only eight teams in the majors have gotten less fWAR out of their starters than Baltimore, and of those only the Yankees, Reds, and Red Sox have any hope of making the playoffs this season.