Life for a player on the fringe of being on 40-man rosters around the league can be a chaotic one, especially for pitchers, to which plenty can attest. The most recent who is experiencing the whiplash of frequent DFA’s is Kyle Tyler, who the Red Sox just recently picked up off waivers after he was designated for assignment by the Angels. Now, just two days after that claim became official, he’s been designated for assignment again. Boston put the right-handed pitcher on waivers to clear 40-man space for another right-handed pitcher, this one being Ralph Garza, formerly of the Twins. He was designated for assignment to make room for Carlos Correa, and he has two minor-league options remaining.
Unlike Tyler, who came up through the early parts of his professional career as a starer, Garza has been a pure reliever since entering pro ball as a 26th round pick by the Astros back in 2015. That said, Garza has shown the ability to throw multiple innings of the bullpen, with his innings total consistently outpacing the number of appearances he makes in a season while in the minors, an example being 2019 when he made 42 relief appearances at Triple-A with 78 innings in those appearances. As we’ve talked about plenty this spring, having depth of pitchers who can go multiple innings is going to be particularly important coming off a shortened ramp up time following the lockout.
As far as who Garza is as a pitcher, the righty is entering his age-28 season and made his major-league debut last season. He ended up making 27 appearances for the Twins, throwing 30 1⁄3 innings, and finished with a 3.56 ERA and a 4.88 FIP. He does have some issues with control, regularly hitting double digits with his walk rate in his time in affiliated ball, but also can miss bats at a decent rate. He leans heavily on his slider, which was his best pitch in that taste of major-league ball last season, and also features a pair of fastballs that sit in the low 90s. He also has a handful of other secondaries which he threw sparingly in that major-league sample.
As for Tyler, my assumption is that the plan was never for him to be on the 40-man for too long, but rather that the Red Sox are likely looking to hoard as much pitching depth in the upper levels of their organization as possible. It’s a risk as he certainly could be claimed, but if not the Red Sox have two pitchers who can feasibly contribute in an emergency role for the cost of one 40-man spot. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Garza’s time on the roster goes through a similar trajectory.