Earlier on Thursday, the Red Sox made their Opening Day roster official, and in that process they needed to create two 40-man roster spots for Travis Shaw and Hansel Robles. The big story there was Eduard Bazardo being designated for assignment, but it was the other pitcher who first hit the news. That would be Ralph Garza Jr., who was designated for assignment by the Twins earlier in the offseason to make room for Carlos Correa, and after being put back on waivers by Boston he has once again been claimed, this time by the Rays.
This is twice now in the last month or so that the Red Sox have claimed a pitcher only to relatively quickly put them back on waivers, which typically happens with the goal of keeping the player in the organization without taking up a 40-man spot. Both times that plan did not work, though. Kyle Tyler had been claimed by the Padres after a two-day stint in the Red Sox organization, and now Garza has also been claimed. To be clear, this is not to say Boston made any mistakes here as these are risks worth taking, and sometimes they just don’t work out.
Garza made his major-league debut last season with the Twins, finishing with a 3.56 ERA and a 4.88 FIP in 30 1⁄3 innings out of the bullpen. While his stuff is solid, the command needs to improve with regards to both walks and hard contact if he’s going to stick in the majors. For now, he is a solid depth piece with minor-league options, and with teams looking for as much pitching depth as possible it’s not a major surprise he was claimed. The Red Sox didn’t have any other options, really, to designate on Thursday, but they do lose a little bit of depth in the process.