The Orioles have signed former Red Sox reliever Eduard Bazardo to a minor-league contract for the 2023 season, per the club’s transactions log. The right-hander has been assigned to Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Va.
Bazardo became a free agent in October after the Red Sox designated him for assignment in order to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for fellow rightyJake Reed. The 27-year-old cleared waivers on Oct. 17 and elected to hit the open market — as opposed to accepting a minor-league assignment — since it was the second time in his career that he had been outrighted.
In 12 appearances out of the Boston bullpen this past season, Bazardo posted a 2.76 ERA (but much more concerning 6.05 FIP) with 11 strikeouts to four walks over 16 1/3 innings of relief. He owns a lifetime 2.33 ERA (5.60 FIP) across 19 1/3 big-league innings since debuting for the Sox last April.
The Red Sox originally signed Bazardo for just $10,000 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2014. The Maracay native was first added to the club’s 40-man roster in November 2020 after impressing at fall instructs. He was limited to just two major-league outings last season due to a right lat strain that kept him sidelined for about three months.
On the day before the 2022 season began in April, the Red Sox designated Bazardo for assignment. He cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, where he forged a 3.45 ERA with 60 strikeouts to 19 walks over 37 appearances (four starts, 57 1/3 innings) before having his contract selected when rosters expanded on the first of September.
Though he pitched relatively well, as far as results are concerned, down the stretch this fall, Bazardo clearly was not viewed by the Red Sox in favorable fashion, which is why he lost his 40-man roster spot to Reed, who has since been designated and claimed by the Dodgers.
Bazardo, who does not turn 28 until next September, operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a low-80s slider, a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a low-90s sinker, and a high-80s changeup. The 6-foot, 165-pound hurler has two minor-league options remaining and could be a bullpen option for the Orioles at some point next season. He is currently pitching for the Navegantes del Magallanes of the Venezuelan Winter League.
In addition to Bazardo, the Orioles recently signed former Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero to a minor-league deal for the 2023 campaign as well. Baltimore also took former WooSox reliever A.J. Politi in the Rule 5 Draft earlier this month.
(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: G Fiume/Getty Images)