The Braves retooling of the bullpen continued Wednesday with the trade of Anthony Varvaro to the Boston Red Sox for minor league pitcher Aaron Kurcz.
Varvaro had been designated for assignment by the Braves. He’s had two straight solid seasons for Atlanta. He had a 2.63 ERA in 61 games this past season and a 2.82 ERA in 62 games in 2013. Varvaro won’t be eligible for arbitration until next winter.
Kurcz came back from Tommy John surgery last year and did well in Double-A Portland. He was 3-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 29 games. Kurcz allowed 32 hits in 42 innings, with 22 walks and 54 strikeouts.
The 24-year-old right-hander will likely be in Triple-A to start the 2015 season. If he does well, Kurcz could be a candidate if needed in Atlanta.
Atlanta is expected to have plenty of candidates for the bullpen next season. Craig Kimbrel will be the closer, with newly signed Jim Johnson replacing Jordan Walden. David Carpenter will be back and should get a lot of innings in the seventh and eighth innings.
James Russell and Luis Avilan should be back as lefty relievers, with Chasen Shreven a strong candidate to make the team after an impressive short stint in 2014. Ian Thomas was with the big league club last season and should get another opportunity to get innings.
The Braves acquired Arodys Vizcaino from the Cubs for Tommy La Stella earlier in the offseason. Vizcaino could be a hard-thrower that could get significant work if he’s back from Tommy John surgery. Michael Kohn, signed recently to a minor league deal, will be given a long look in spring training. The Braves certainly hope Shae Simmons is healthy. He was tremendous before being shut down with arm issues last in the year.
David Hale will be the long reliever/spot starter once again.
The Braves are still looking for more bullpen help. They have been linked to right-hander Jason Grilli in the last week.
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Braves trade Varvaro to Boston
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