Varvaro, 30, spent last season, his fifth in the major leagues, with the Braves and posted a 3-3 record with a 2.63 ERA (16 ER/54.2 IP), only 13 walks, and a career-high 50 strikeouts in 61 relief appearances. He also posted career bests in walks per nine innings (2.1), and hits per nine innings (7.6). Opponents batted just .228 (46-for-202) against Varvaro in 2014, and of his 46 hits allowed, only 16 went for extra bases.
Over the last two seasons with Atlanta, Varvaro is 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA (39 ER/128.0 IP) and just 114 hits allowed. He is one of only 18 major league relievers with at least 50.0 innings pitched and an ERA of 2.85 or better in each of the last two seasons, and ranks 12th among National League relievers with 14 opponent ground into double plays during that stretch. Varvaro, who was designated for assignment on Monday, previously underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June of 2005.
A native of Staten Island, NY, Varvaro was originally a 12th-round selection of the Seattle Mariners in the 2005 June Draft. For his major league career, he has gone 7-8 with one save, a 3.18 ERA (61 ER/172.2 IP), 64 walks, and 142 strikeouts in 157 games between the Mariners (2010) and Braves (2011-14). The right-handed pitcher has allowed only a .196/.275/.322 line to left-handed batters, with a .523 OPS against left-handed batters in the last two years.
Kurcz, 24, spent this past season with Double-A Portland where he was 3-2 with three saves, a 2.14 ERA (10 ER/42.0 IP) with 22 walks, and 54 strikeouts in 34 games. He allowed only six extra-base hits on the year, all of which were doubles. Following the season, he pitched for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, going 1-0 with one save, a 3.86 ERA (6 ER/14.0 IP), and 15 strikeouts in 10 appearances.
For his minor league career, Kurcz has gone 13-11 with 16 saves, a 2.81 ERA (63 ER/202.0 IP), 94 walks, and 265 strikeouts in 121 games (12 starts). He was acquired from the Chicago Cubs as the player to be named later on March 25, 2012 as compensation for Theo Epstein. Kurcz was originally selected by the Cubs in the 10th round of the 2010 June Draft.
With the acquisition of Varvaro, Boston's 40-man roster is now at 40.