Red Sox offseason: Eduard Bazardo elects free agency after clearing waivers

Eduard Bazardo has cleared waivers and was outrighted off the Red Sox’ major-league roster, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon. Rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A Worcester, Bazardo has elected to become a free agent.

Bazardo, 27, was designated for assignment on Thursday after fellow reliever Jake Reed was claimed off waivers from the Orioles. Because he had previously been outrighted in his career, the right-hander had the ability to reject a minor-league assignment in favor of free agency if he went unclaimed.

Originally signed out of Venezuela for just $8,000 in July 2014, Bazardo first burst onto the scene in the wake of the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Although there was no Minor League Baseball in 2020, the Maracay native impressed at fall instructs in Fort Myers and was ultimately added to the Sox’ 40-man roster that November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

The following April, Bazardo made his big-league debut in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Twins at Target Field. He tossed a scoreless seventh inning and was sent back down to Worcester. His only other appearance of the 2021 season came on May 12, when he tossed two scoreless frames of relief against the Athletics while filling in for a sick Nick Pivetta.

Shortly after returning to the WooSox, Bazardo suffered a right lat strain that resulted in him being sidelined for nearly three months. The Red Sox placed him on the 60-day injured list last July and did not activate him until mid-September.

On the heels of an up-and-down debut season, Bazardo came into spring training this year with a chance to earn a spot in Boston’s Opening Day bullpen. But the righty was optioned on April 2 and was designated for assignment five days later.

After clearing waivers for the first time, Bazardo was outrighted to Worcester. He spent the majority of the 2022 campaign with the WooSox before having his contract selected again last month. In his second go-around with the Red Sox, the 6-foot, 165-pound hurler posted a 2.76 ERA and 6.05 FIP to go along with 11 strikeouts to four walks over 12 relief appearances spanning 16 1/3 innings of work.

While the ERA is encouraging, the peripherals certainly say otherwise and likely played a role in Bazardo losing his 40-man roster spot to Reed last week.

Given that he does not turn 28 until next September, though, it seems likely that Bazardo will have plenty of suitors (the Red Sox included) this winter if he is willing to entertain minor-league offers. He has, after all, produced a 4.33 ERA across 48 appearances (four starts) and 68 2/3 innings in parts of the last two seasons with the WooSox.

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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