When the Red Sox made their Opening Day roster official on Thursday, the day before the season began, the big surprise wasn’t in who made it, but who was taken off the 40-man and exposed to waivers. That would be Eduard Bazardo, who was thought to be among the top depth arms to start the season in Triple-A but instead was exposed to waivers. It was my thought, at least, and I’m sure that of plenty others, that he’d be claimed despite throwing just once in spring training. Alas, we were wrong. The team announced on Sunday that Bazardo would be outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, which of course means he cleared waivers unclaimed.
This entire situation, as alluded to above, is bizarre and it sure feels like we’re missing something. The righty was a middling prospect for much of his time in the Red Sox farm system before popping in a big way at Fall Instructs following the 2020 season. Bazardo saw a big bump in velocity, and that along with a plus breaking ball made him a big potential weapon in the bullpen. And in fact he’d be added to the 40-man later that winter as protection against the Rule 5 Draft, and made his debut later that summer.
However, Bazardo wouldn’t be able to pitch much at all over the course of the 2021 season, neither in the majors nor Triple-A, due to injury issues. As mentioned, he only threw once this spring so it’s possible that his stuff took a tick back after his injury-riddled 2021, and the team wasn’t confident that he’d get the stuff back. Perhaps other teams saw that writing on the wall as well. For now, it’s impossible to really saw where Bazardo stands as far as the team’s bullpen depth chart and who will be called up in what order, but he’ll be a fascinating guy to watch when he gets on the mound for Worcester. If he comes out mowing hitters down, I’ll be at a loss for why he was both put on waivers, and unclaimed. If not, well that may well be the explanation right there.