The revamping this offseason of the Sox pitching staff is evidently not just in the starting rotation.
Boston has added middle reliever Anthony Varvaro in a trade with Atlanta, giving up minor league reliever Aaron Kurcz and the old veteran “cash considerations” in the process. Varvaro, who is 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA in an impressive 123 games over the last two seasons, seems like a solid pickup for the Sox. If the 24-year-old Kurcz reaches his projected peak, he would be around where Varvaro is now, so the risk in giving him up appears minimal. As for those famous cash considerations, let’s just try to forget their role in the Lester negotiations. After all, cash is always considered.
In fact, Varvaro’s relatively low price may have been one of the reasons the Sox signed him. He was paid only $515,000 last year, and is not eligible for salary arbitration until 2016. Conversely, reliever Burke Badenhop had a $2.15 million salary last season. That price disparity between two similar quality relievers means that the Sox will likely let the 31-year-old free agent Badenhop leave, especially since it will probably take even more cash to keep him.
The Sox may have failed with their most important pitching target this offseason, but this trade is another example of the continued efforts they’re making to strengthen their staff.