The Red Sox made a surprising decision on Thursday when they elected to designate right-hander Eduard Bazardo for assignment. Boston needed to clear two 40-man roster spots in order to add Hansel Robles and Travis Shaw to the major-league roster. They did so by designating Bazardo and fellow righty Ralph Garza Jr.
While Garza Jr. has already been claimed off waivers by the Rays, Bazardo remains in limbo for the time being.
Originally signed out of Venezuela for just $8,000 in 2014, Bazardo rose to relevance in 2020 when he showed improved velocity on his fastball during fall instructs. The Sox added Bazardo to their 40-man roster that November in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
Last season, Bazardo made his major-league debut in April but missed significant time on the 60-day injured list because of a right lat strain suffered with Triple-A Worcester in May.
The 26-year-old spent more time with Worcester than he did in Boston in 2021, but there was no reason to believe he could not compete for a spot in the Red Sox’ Opening Day bullpen this spring.
Instead, Bazardo appeared in just one Grapefruit League game before being optioned to Worcester on April 2. He did not appear in either of the WooSox’ first two games and wound up losing his spot on the 40-man roster five days after getting sent down.
When speaking with reporters at Yankee Stadium on Thursday afternoon, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked why Bazardo was designated for assignment. His response?
“That decision goes above me,” Cora said. “He was healthy and he pitched on the backfields. He only pitched in one game but everything went fine. Our roster is becoming harder and harder, especially the last two years. That’s a good problem to have, right? Because you have good pitchers, good players. It was a tough decision toward the end. There were a few guys that we talk about it.”
Now that he has been designated, the Sox have the next seven days to either trade, release, or place Bazardo on outright waivers. Given the fact he does not turn 27 until September and still has two minor-league option years remaining, it seems likely the 6-foot, 187 pound hurler could land elsewhere via a waiver claim.
With that being said, though, Cora is understandably hopeful that Bazardo will clear waivers and remain with the Red Sox organization as a non-40-man roster player.
“In a selfish way, hopefully he’s with us whenever the process ends,” said Cora. “If not, I know he’s a good one. He grew up a lot two years ago and he’s still developing. Let’s see how the process goes.”
(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)