Before designating Varvaro for assignment on Monday, the Braves made a few attempts to trade the veteran reliever. The deal with the Red Sox seemed to materialize over the past 48 hours.
Kurcz missed the entirety of the 2013 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. But he rebounded in impressive fashion as he posted a 2.14 ERA and notched 54 strikeouts in 42 innings (34 appearances) for Double-A Portland this past year.
The 24-year-old reliever allowed five earned runs in his first three appearances and then recorded a 1.15 ERA while limiting opponents to a .194 batting average over his final 31 appearances. He will likely begin this season with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Kurcz spent the first three seasons of his professional career in the Cubs' Minor League system. He was sent to the Red Sox in compensation for Theo Epstein's decision to exit Boston for the opportunity to head the Cubs' baseball operations department.
After enjoying a few brief stints with Atlanta during the 2011 and '12 seasons, Varvaro established himself as a Major Leaguer over the past two seasons. The 30-year-old right-hander produced a 2.74 ERA over the 123 appearances he combined to make in 2013 and '14.
Varvaro became expendable as the Braves reconstructed their bullpen this winter with the additions of Jim Johnson and Michael Kohn. Craig Kimbrel, Johnson, David Carpenter, Shae Simmons and James Russell are expected to account for five of the seven bullpen spots at the start of the 2015 season. If Kohn throws strikes, he will undoubtedly fill one of the two remaining vacancies. Luis Avilan and Chasen Shreve are currently positioned to battle for the left-handed specialist role.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.