The Red Sox have lost Anthony Varvaro to the Cubs and gained utility infielder Luis Jimenez in a Sunday afternoon filled with waiver wire activity.
The bigger news here--and the reason why all this seems quite, quite bad--is the Cubs claiming Anthony Varvaro. It was a stroke of luck that Varvaro fell into Boston's lap this past offseason when the Braves designated him for assignment. The 30-year-old reliever had just produced 128 innings of 2.74 ERA baseball with 93 strikeouts and 38 walks for Atlanta between 2013 and 2014. What's more, he wasn't set to hit free agency for years to come. The Red Sox had seemingly locked in a cheap, effective relief arm for years to come.
Now he's gone because the Red Sox needed one more bench player on a day when Mike Napoli was under the weather. And because he was apparently more valuable than, say, an option on Robbie Ross Jr. Either the Braves and the Red Sox know something we, the Cubs, and seemingly all of the world's beat writers don't know, or the Red Sox gave away something--a very real something--for nothing. Time will tell, but for now, it's generous to call this move baffling.
On the flip side, they've brought in Luis Jimenez off of waivers, who more or less fills a roster spot while nobody else is ready to for now. The 27-year-old infielder has shown some pop in the minors, producing 101 homers in eight seasons in the Angels' farm system. But he's hit .218/.255/.269 in 167 major league plate appearances spread out over the last three seasons and doesn't really project to have an impact on Boston's depth chart. John Farrell cited "flexibility with Brock Holt and Daniel Nava," but Brock Holt is the one providing flexibility for Brock Holt and Daniel Nava, and he's not even playing every day to begin with.
The move isn't Varvaro for Jimenez, don't be confused. Jimenez is a placeholder while Rusney Castillo gets ready, or Shane Victorino gets healthy in preparation for what might be a short return to action. It's independent of the Varvaro move, and not particularly noteworthy positively or otherwise. Varvaro was gone days ago, and that's where the problem lies.